Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pest News

This information comes in weekly from the NCSU Plant Disease and Insect Clinic from mid April until October. The following is an alert from Steve Bambara:

European Red Mites

We haven't seen this mite often in the landscape the last few years, but it has shown up twice in the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic at North Carolina State University over the last two weeks. European red mites usually overwinter in the egg stage. The tiny orange-red colored eggs hatch at about the time when apple trees bloom. The European red mite is an introduced pest that in North Carolina primarily infests apple trees. Although it is reported to infest various shade trees and ornamental plants in the landscape, cherry laurels seem to be the major ornamental plants that European red mites infest. The European red mite causes typical pale stipples on the leaves of their host plants, but this spider mite spins very little webbing. This mite is slightly different from the southern red mite. With your hand lens you should be able to see that the hairs on the back of the mites each arise from a small, white bump whereas the hairs of southern red mites arise from red bumps. I believe any horticultural oil spray should give adequate control. Oils will not significantly harm beneficial predator mite populations are often preferable for this reason. For professionals, most of the favorite miticides will also work.

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.