Managing cyclamen mite in strawberries

Cyclamen mite was evident at most strawberry farms this season. This pest builds up on older strawberry plantings and was especially serious on Valley Sunset. Cyclamen mite it is a tiny oval white-amber coloured mite that feeds on the newest strawberry leaves while they are still folded up near the crown. Leaves become distorted and the plant can be quite stunted. New growth is leathery and off colour. For a full description of the problem see the strawberry CropIPM module.

Control of cyclamen mite is difficult, partly because they are active in the new growth in the crown, where it is difficult to get good spray coverage. It is often a chronic problem, so growers should plan a strategy for control that extends into next year.

  • After mowing, as new leaves begin to grow but before they expand and shield the crown from sprays, apply an insecticide such as Thionex. The rate for cyclamen mite is higher than the rate for tarnished plant bug. (Maximum 2 applications per year for tarnished plants bug or cyclamen mite.)
  • Walk your fields in late summer and fall and look for signs of crinkled leaves. Flag these patches.
  • In spring as new growth begins, apply an insecticide for cyclamen mite. You can choose Thionex, or Agri-Mek. Agri-Mek is absorbed into the leaf, and works best when leaves are fresh and new. DO not include a surfactant or oil when using Agri-Mek on strawberries.
  • Consider purchasing beneficial mites such as Amblysieus sp. insects and releasing them into the field when hot spots develop. Check with your supplier about a suitable interval between insecticide application and releasing beneficial mites.
  • Reduce use of pyrethroid insecticides in strawberries, such as Ripcord Matador, Decis, etc. These insecticides are hard on beneficial mites that help keep cyclamen mite in check.

Figure 1: Strawberry leaves crinkled and roughened by cyclamen mite. Note the healthy leaf in the bottom left

Figure 1: Strawberry leaves crinkled and roughened by cyclamen mite. Note the healthy leaf in the bottom left

Figure 2: High numbers of cyclamen mites visible as small amber specks in the center of this leaf, where the leaflets meet

Figure 2: High numbers of cyclamen mites visible as small amber specks in the center of this leaf, where the leaflets meet

Cyclamen mite and eggs much magnified

Figure 3: Cyclamen mite and eggs much magnified


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca