I’m confused. I choose c by process of elimination although it was a weak answer. The reason I didn’t choose e is because I put “they would be extinct.” (in handwritten note next to e)
It would be good that the typhlodromus tolerate the cold winters where the cyclamen notes are a lower population, but wouldn’t they just mean that the typolodromus would eat all the notes and therefore be a bad collateral damage on the typolodromus because they need them to survive? They cannot survive on honey dew forever!
Reference line 32: “they do not reproduce except when they are feeding on the cyclamen mites.
Thanks for your question!
Number 26 asks what option would most strengthen the authors argument--that predatory mites (typhlodromus) would be a viable pest control for strawberries.
You got stuck between (C) and (E), so let's review those.
Option (C) gave that in areas where there are pest mites (cyclamen), winters are also mild. As you said, the passage mentions predatory mites can subsist on honeydew when mite populations are too low in the winter. However, this doesn't seem to be an issue for the predatory mites. The passage already claims they show an "ability to survive" without prey and are described as "well-suited to exploiting the seasonal rises and falls of its prey." They don't seem to need mild winters, as they do just fine without them.
Option (E), however, is a different story. This option gives that the predatory mites do well in the same climates as strawberries are grown in. This would be great news for the author's argument--it would mean that wherever strawberries can grow, the mites could be employed as well. This makes them seem a viable alternative to chemical pest control, which would not need the right climate to survive. Similarly, predatory mites could be employed wherever strawberries are grown.
I hope that makes sense, thanks again for your question!