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Broad Mites: Understanding and Controlling

Broad mites are common houseplant pest that thrives in warm temperatures. They are quite dangerous as they attack a wide variety of ornamental and crop plants. 

The tomato, cucumber, and pepper are a few examples of crop plants affected by broad mites. While some ornamental plants like begonias and azaleas get affected by the bug pest.  

The damage caused by broad mites is more severe than those caused by russet mites. So, it is important to identify broad mites in time to deal with them. 

Identifying Broad Mites

Identifying Broad Mites

Polyphagotarsonemus latus (broad mites)  are quite small in size like the russet mite. A single mite can measure up to 0.25 mm in size. As adults, they are fitted with 8 legs and sharp piercing, and sucking mouthparts. 

Their bodies are oval-shaped and they take the color of dark green or yellow. Their skin can also appear shiny under the right lighting. Overall, broad mites go through 

Broad mite larvae bear a close resemblance to adults but are fitted with 6 legs. Broad mites in general form clusters. They can be found on the undersides of leaves. But their size makes it difficult to see them with the naked eye. This is why you would need to view broad mites under a microscope 

Life Cycle Of Broad mites 

The lifespan of these mite species is very short. The adults live for a maximum of 2 weeks. There are 4 stages to their life cycle and it all starts with the adult female broad mite. She lays about 40  broad mite eggs on the underside of leaves. 

It takes about 2 days under the right temperature for the eggs to hatch into larvae.  Once at the larvae stage, the broad mite has one more molting to do to become an adult. 

Identifying Broad Mite Damage on Plants

The damages caused by broad mites look similar to those caused by a virus. They often attack young plants t

 They can cause a slight distortion of the plant’s leaves. This can be visible by the leaves curling up and changing color to brown. 

You can also see stripes, spots, and patches all over the plant. These take the color of brown and can be quite severe, depending on the level of infestation. Broad mites also affect the fruits of certain plants. Their piercing mouthparts can kill the fruit cells, leaving it to look misshapen… 

These severe broad mites symptoms can be caused by a small infestation. If left untreated, the entire plant could die off. 

Broad Mite Treatment

Broad mite control can be a bit difficult. This is because their small size makes it a bit hard to spot them before doing any damage.  There are a few options that you can try to prevent and control an infestation. 

  1. Always do a thorough check on any ornamental plant before you purchase. Because broad mites are small, a microscope would be handy.  If you don’t have a microscope, check for some of the symptoms outlined above. 
  1. If the symptoms from a plant infestation seem severe, dispose of the plant. This can help prevent the pests from further infesting your entire growing space. 
  1. Horticultural oils and neem oil can also be used in treating broad mites. They are best suited for crop plants infested with broad mites. They can disrupt the feeding habits of broad mites too. 
  1. You can also mix Diatomaceous Earth (food grade) with water. This makes a powerful spray that can kill broad mites. 
  1. There are certain mites that could be introduced as broad mite predators. N. californicus and Neoseiulus cucumeris feed on broad mites.  They also feed on other pests like thrips, aphids, and whiteflies.
  1. You can also keep the infested plant in heated water. Broad mites don’t do well in hot temperatures. Be gentle when doing this, so you don’t damage the plant. Sterilize the soil after, to take care of any remaining mites. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What do turkey mites look like?

Turkey mites look a lot like broad mites. They have 4 pairs of legs and are oval-shaped. They are however red in color. 

How do you get rid of broad mites?

The best method to use for getting rid of broad mites would be the use of organic miticides. 

How do broad mites spread?

Their small size allows them to be carried by air with ease. They can also cling to the fabrics of people.