Recently, a team of researchers in Kasaragod has found Eriophyid mite, which damages amaranthus (red cheera), a common leafy vegetable cultivated all over the country.
About Eriophyid mite
- The researchers said such infestation in amaranthus was being reported for the first time in India.
- The mite causes severe malformation of the shoot, making it fibrous and reducing the yield.
- Even though Eriophyid mites were reported in Tanzania in 1992, it is the first report of the mite infestation in amaranth in the country.
- Since the mite is so incredibly small, it is very difficult to identify these translucent bugs. However, most identification is based on the host plant and the nature of the plant tissue damage.
- These mites are different from spider mites in that they are very particular about the host plants that they choose.
- Eriophyid mites are known by many names including blister mites, gall mites, bud mites, and rust mites depending on the type of damage that they cause. Female mites spend the winter in the cracks of tree bark, in leaf buds, or in leaf litter.
- They are able to endure extreme weather conditions and begin feeding with the onset of spring.
Controlling Eriophyid mite
- Eriophyid mite control involves keen observation. If you suspect mites, check leaves for blisters, bronzing, or galls.
- Although the aesthetic damage from mites causes plant owners to grieve, most plants have no problem tolerating a large number of mites. Rarely and only under very serious infestations is it suggested that pesticides be used to control the mites.
- In fact, eriophydid mites are a perfect meal of predatory mites, which help control outbreaks of damaging spider mites.
- Spraying broad-spectrum insecticides only kills these necessary predatory mites. Therefore, tolerating some disfiguration and pimples on plant leaves is, in fact, an excellent pest management practice.
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