Peach Silver Mite

    Peach Silver Mite

    Silver mite damage on leaves. Silver mite damage on leaves.
    Peach silver mite.
    Peach silver mite.

    HOSTS

    • Peach/nectarine

    DESCRIPTION

    These tiny mites (too small to be seen without the aid of a microscope) cause leaves to take on a silvery sheen. They are eriophyid mites and related to leaf blister and rust mites. Peach varieties with glands that secrete a sticky material over their new leaves are less susceptible when the leaves are young. After gland secretions halt, and in glandless varieties, leaves are susceptible to mite feeding.

    Peach silver mites are most noticeable later in the season because they do not do well in hot, dry conditions. Most trees can tolerate this pest, but they most likely have an effect on photosynthesis.

    BIOLOGY

    These are microscopic mites called eriophyid mites, related to blister and rust mites. They overwinter as females within the tree and move to leaves after budbreak. There are many generations each season, but populations don't increase significantly until late summer.

    SYMPTOMS

    • "Silvering" of leaves
    • Reduced fruit size
    • Premature fruit drop

    MONITORING

    Because these mites are so small, they are difficult to see with a hand lens, which makes early monitoring for the mites challenging. Starting in mid summer, check the leaves for the silvering symptom.

    GENERAL MANAGEMENT

    Moderate populations of this mite are a good source  of food for predatory mites, especially early in the season. If treatment is necessary, the best time is in early fall, just as the leaves start to turn color. At that time, mites are migrating to leaf buds to spend the winter under the bud scales.


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