Steneotarsonemus (Phytonemus) pallidus
Pest description and damage The cyclamen mite is extremely tiny and only visible with high magnification. When mature, it measures only about 0.01 inch. Mature mites are pinkish-orange and shiny. The hind legs are threadlike in the female and grasping or pincerlike in the male. At low population densities, cyclamen mites are 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. The mites infest growing tips, young leaves, and blooms and cause distorted, twisted, and blistered growth. They are spread by wind and by movement of infested stock.
Biology and life history Cyclamen mites overwinter as adult females. Eggs are translucent and comparatively large. Adult females lay about 90 eggs, 80% of which develop into females. During summer, newly hatched mites develop into mature adults within two weeks. Populations build rapidly soon after they begin to infest a planting.
Pest monitoring Look for tightly curled and distorted leaves.
Predatory mites are important biological control agents of these mites.
Avoid planting, or propagating from, infested plants. Eliminating cyclamen mites from infested plants is very difficult. Cyclamen and broad mites are sensitive to heat and thus thrive in the cooler temperatures of early spring and fall (winter in the greenhouse). Hot water dips (100°F for 30 minutes; or 111°F for 15 minutes) are used to control cyclamen mites. This can be done prior to planting, or to disinfest cuttings prior to propagation to clean new stock.
See Table 3 in: