Strawberry-Cyclamen mite

Phytonemus pallidus

Pest description and crop damage The mature mite is flat, lens-shaped, and transparent. The female's hind legs are threadlike. The cyclamen mite is much smaller than the twospotted spider mite and can be seen only with the aid of a hand lens. This mite is found on young, folded leaves along the mid-vein. Mite feeding stunts plants and reduces fruit production. Symptoms are similar to virus symptoms and including stunting and twisting of leaves and buds. Fruit size and yield can be significantly reduced. 'Totem' strawberries are very susceptible to cyclamen mite damage. This mite is also a serious pest on cyclamen, African violet, and other greenhouse-grown plants.

Biology and life history Cyclamen mites overwinter as adult females in the crown of the strawberry plant. Under cold temperatures, it remains dormant. As the weather warms, it resumes activity in spring. Eggs are laid in the folds of young leaves and buds. Most feeding activity occurs in protected areas of the plant in the folds of young leaves or unopened flower buds. Populations can build rapidly in fields after they become infested.

Scouting and thresholds In early spring, with the aid of a hand lens, inspect strawberry crowns, folded leaves and unopened buds for evidence of cyclamen mites. Puckered or contorted leaves indicate cyclamen mite feeding.

Management-biological control

Insects, such as the minute pirate bug and six-spotted thrips, are known to feed on cyclamen mite, as does the western predatory mite (Galendromus occidentalis). Releases of other predatory mites such as Amblyseius californicus may be effective if done early enough before populations build.

Management-cultural control

Use only clean planting stock in new plantings. Remove infested plants as soon as they are seen. Mites are easily transferred from infested fields to new locations by pickers and machinery. Mites on planting stock may be completely killed by immersion in water at 120°F for 30 minutes.

Management-chemical control: HOME USE

  • plant-based oils such as clove, cottonseed and garlic-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.

Management-chemical control: COMMERCIAL USE

Control is improved with high drenching insecticide spray (400 gal/a of water).

  • abamectin (Agri-Mek) at 0.019 lb ai/a. PHI 3 days. Provides suppression of cyclamen mite populations. Make two applications 7 to 10 days apart when mites first appear. Repeat this sequence of applications, if necessary, to maintain control (wait at least 21 days before repeating sequence). Do not exceed 0.075 lb ai/a in one growing season. Do not use less than 100 gal water/a.
  • diazinon (several brands) at 1 lb ai/a. PHI 5 days. Do not apply during bloom. One application per season allowed.
  • fenpyroximate (FujiMite) at 0.1 lb ai/a. PHI 1 day. Two applications per crop cycle.