May Pest of the Month: Broad mite

Broad mite is a pest of a wide range of plant species that can cause severe damage to growing tips and expanding leaves. Plants can become grossly deformed rapidly causing them to become unsalable. Broad mites are extraordinarily small and can not be seen without significant magnification; hand lenses may not be sufficient to detect broad mites. As such, the first indication that the mites are infesting a crop can be the observation of unusual growth.

Broad mite damage can often be mistaken for other pests damaging growing tips, nutrient deficiency, herbicide damage, virus infection and other non-pathogenic disorders. It is therefore very important to confirm the presence of broad mites prior to taking management actions. This can be done with confidence using a microscope. Broad mite eggs are very easy to recognise by their dome shape and the white ‘polka-dots’ over their surface.

Managing infestations involves removal of heavily infested stems and unsalable plants from the growing area, applying pesticides to relatively high populations and biological control agents to relatively low populations. For more information refer to the new factsheet on this species.

All Australian production nurseries receive 6 free diagnostic samples through Grow Help to assist with pest and disease identifications.