A New Pest of Spathiphyllum!

Calacarus carinatus (Green) (Acari: Eriophyidae): Purple or Ribbed Tea mite.

    In Florida greenhouses, C. carinatus has only been found attacking Spathiphyllum. These mites are much smaller than two-spotted spider mites . The adult female is purple in color with white wax stripes around the body. The only way we found them was by the obvious damage (see photographs below). This mite is considered to be a rust mite because of the bronzing it causes to infested leaves. Infested leaves also have a "dusty" appearance because of the mite cast skins and the residue of "mite wax" deposited on the leaf surface. When using a hand lens, you will see the white skins and wax that cover the upper leaf surface. This species is usually found attacking camellias where they also cause bronzing of the leaves. In tea plantations, mite populations build during the dry periods and significantly decline during rainy periods. In local greenhouses, numbers also decline when plants are frequently watered with over-head watering systems.

    Most of the eggs are land along veins. At 23 C (72 F) eggs hatch in about 6-8 days. Total developmental time from egg to adult is approximately 10-12 days. The life cycle on tea depends on temperature. During January it takes about 13-14 days, in March 9 days and in July or August about 7 days (Jeppson et al. 1975).

    This problem has been managed by making multiple applications with various miticides (Adept, Avid or Thiodan).

    Jeppson, L.R., Keifer, H.H. and E.W. Baker. 1975. Mites Injurious to Economic Plants. University of California Press, Ca. 614 pp.



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Photographs by Lance S. Osborne, Ph.D.

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