Polyphagotarsonemus latus

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Polyphagotarsonemus latus SEM (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: USDA, ARS - Wikimedia Commons

Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks, 1904) - (broad mite)

The mite is a highly polyphagous mite found in warmer regions and in greenhouses of temperate regions. Damage by the mite was original reported from America and since 1961 also from Europe. The species now has a world-wide distribution.

The mite attacks, for example, the buds of tea, citrus, cotton, ornamentals and other crops by piercing the plant cells and feeding on their content. The attacks result in narrow, curved leaves and deformed fruits. Even relatively low mite densities can result in significant damage. On fruits and ornamentals, the damage is unacceptable for marketing.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Breitmilbe
• English: broad mite
yellow tea mite
• Español: acaro amarillo
• Français: tarsoneme du cottonnier
• Português: ácaro-branco

Mites disperse through the air or with infested plant material. For control, predatory mites are used in the greenhouse environment. Alternatively, insecticidal oils or soaps and acaricides are applied.

The adult female is oval in outline and about 0.2-0.3 mm long, light yellowish green in colour. Males are significantly smaller. The development from egg, through the larval and nymphal stages, to the adult stage last around 1-2 weeks depending on the temperature.