European Red Mite

These mites are reddy-brown, with white spots and are about 0.5 mm long. Each egg looks like an onion, with a white stalk at the top as long as the egg is wide.

Plant Part: Leaves, fruit and the bark of the tree.

Season: Spring - Summer

Symptoms: Early signs of the mite are pale yellow spotting on leaves. Heavy infestations result in leaf bronzing and premature leaf fall. Prolonged feeding by the mite can result in reduced fruit size and colour and may affect fruit set the following season. In Autumn you will notice bright red eggs that the mite has laid along the bark of the tree.

Control: Applying a horticultural mineral oil spray in late winter can kill the eggs. If you still have these little mites around in the summer months, then applying wettable sulphur during the cooler part of the day is a good back up treatment.

Prevention: Make sure you water your multi-grafted apple fruit tree adequately as trees under water stress are more likely to be infested with mites than those that receive proper watering. If the European Red Mite was a problem last season, then apply horticultural mineral oil spray around full bloom the following season.

References: NSW Department of Primary Industries, BC Tree Fruit Production Guide, New England Tree Fruit Management Guide, NC State University, and our FST team.

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