The cyclamen mite (Steneotarsonemus pallidus B.) appears in nests on strawberries from April onwards and can, during periods of relatively high air humidity and high temperatures, cause severe crop loss and even result in the conversion of fields to other purposes.
The white-yellow tarsonemidae are barely visible to the naked eye (0.2-0.3 mm long). They have four pairs of legs. The last pair of legs of the female, which are very long and thin and end in long bristles, is characteristic of this type of mite. Adult females overwinter well hidden in folded leaves or at the bottom of leaf stalks. They leave their winter domicile in April, moving to the more inner leaves and deposit a large number of eggs there. The six-legged larvae hatch after a few days and develop into adults within 10-14 days. Thus, five to seven overlapping generations are produced per year. The pest spreads mainly through infested plant material, but overly frequent cultivation at the same location also encourages their spread.
Plants grow stunted. The core leaves curl strongly, turn brown and wilt. Offshoots and yields decrease severely.
Prevalence and Hosts
The cyclamen mite is found on its host plants around the globe.
Cyclamen mites are found on cyclamen, strawberries, saintpaulias, begonias, chrysanthemums, fuchsias and geraniums.
The infested plant parts must be subjected to morphological examination under a binocular to determine the exact type of mite.
Prevention and Control
Only mite-free seedlings should be used on new fields.
Treatments before flowering or after harvesting should be carried out twice at an interval of 10 to 14 days with acaricides designed for this pest and authorised for use in Austria. The plants should be sprinkled with water, especially the core leaves, when doing so.
At present, there are no authorised plant protection products for this use in Austria (see Register of authorised plant protection products in Austria).