European red mite

European red mite

Panonychus ulmi (Koch)

Acari: Tetranychidae

Adult female European red mites are less than 0.5 mm and dark red with eight legs. Adult males are smaller than the females and have a pointed abdomen. Males are usually dull green to brown.

Mites hatch in the spring from tiny, spherical eggs laid around cane nodes and under loose bark. These eggs can be detected by scouting in early spring. Although several generations can occur each season, populations rarely increase enough to cause significant damage because predatory mites usually prevent their growth.

  • Damage

    Attacks foliage of apple mainly, and other tree fruits less often. Leaves become speckled under light infestation. Bronzing occurs during serious infestations (D; healthy foliage on left, damaged foliage on right). A severe attack can reduce fruit growth and cause preharvest drop on certain varieties.


    Spray a delayed dormant oil when buds are showing green tissue but before pink bud, to kill overwintered eggs; preserve predators of mites. Monitor motile forms on leaves after fruit set; use miticides (based on thresholds) or horticultural mineral oil to reduce numbers during the summer period. A selective pesticide program may allow biological control by predator mites, glassy-winged mirid bug (Hyaliodes vitripennis) or Stethorus punctum.

    Crops Affected

    • Apples
    • Cherries
    • Grapes
    • Peaches
    • Pears
    • Plums
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