Steneotarsonemus pallidus (Banks)
The cyclamen mite is extremely tiny and not visible to the naked eye.
When mature it measures only about 0.001 inch long. Mature mites are
orange and shiny. The hind legs are thread-like in the female and
grasping or pincer-like in the male. At low population densities,
cyclamen mites are usually found along the midvein of young unfolded
leaves and under the calyx of newly
emerged flower buds. At high population densities, these mites can be
found anywhere on nonexpanded plant tissue.
Biology and damage:
The cyclamen mite requires a high temperature and humidity
environment, and is therefore, more of a pest in greenhouses. However,
in the field, cyclamen mites survive by residing within the protected
folded leaves and sometimes blossom buds of strawberries.
Leaves heavily infested with cyclamen mites become severely stunted and
crinkled, resulting in a compact leaf mass in the center of the plant.
Feeding may also result in flower withering and poor fruit production.
Cyclamen mites are primarily
pests in second year plantings. Eggs are translucent and comparatively
large. Adult females lay about 90 eggs, 80 percent of which develop
into females. During summer, newly hatched mites develop into mature
within 2 weeks. Populations build rapidly soon after they begin to
infest a field. Cyclamen mites overwinter as adult females in the
According to California state guidelines, in the field, monitor
newly unfolding leaves and treat when you find 1 cyclamen mite in 10
The cyclamen mite is extremely difficult to control by means of
chemicals because the mite is resistant to many of the comercial
insecticides, and because of its location within unfolded leaves on the
plant. Hot-water dips have been used for years to treat for this pest
(Schaefers 1981). When plants are known to be infested, treat them in
hot water at 100 F for 30 minutes
before planting. In nurseries, early season control
before plant canopy closes over is critical.
Two natural predatory mites, Typhlodromus bellinus and Typhlodromus
reticulatus, are efficient predators, but seldom provide economic
The sixspotted thrips can also be an important natural enemy when
CULTURAL CONTROL (California):
Cyclamen mites can easily be transferred from one location to another
by pickers, pollinators, birds, and equipment, including strawberry
freezer trays. It
may be worthwhile to dip trays in a hotwater bath to prevent
infestation (UC-Davis). Infested nursery plants are the major source of
this pest in strawberry
production areas; be sure to use uninfested nursery stock. When plants
are known to be infested, treat them in hot water at 100 F for 30
before planting. Avoid second year plantings in problem areas.