Mites

(Warm-Season Turf)

Order/Family: Acari/Various

Description:

  • All eriophid mites are extremely small (typically < 1.0 mm long), cigar-shaped, and barely visible with a hand lens.
  • Mites are related to ticks and have a two major body regions: cephalothorax and abdomen.
  • Adults and nymphs have eight legs; the larvae have six.
  • These eriophyid mites are pale yellow.

 

Biology and Habits:

  • They overwinter as adults.
  • In the spring, females begin laying eggs under the leaf sheath.
  • Development (egg – adult) requires 7 to 10 days.
  • As many as 200 mites (all life stages) may be found under a leaf sheath.
  • There are multiple overlapping generations in the growing season.
  • The mites are spread by the wind, on grass clippings and on insects.

 

Turf Attacked:

  • Bermuda grass mite – bermuda grass
  • Buffalo grass mite – buffalo grass
  • Zoysia grass mite – zoysia grass

 

Damage:

  • The first sign of damage appears in the spring when the grass appears unthrifty and off color and does not respond to fertilization and irrigation.
  • Bermudagrass mite – leaf tips turn yellow and the leaves curl.
  • Zoysiagrass mite – whitish or yellowish streaks on new leaves, stunted growth, and leaves rolled lengthwise.
  • A toxic saliva injected by the mites may cause the leaves to become shortened, turn brown, and die.
  • Damage is more severe when the grass is stressed, especially by drought.