Broad mites - Lifecycle, Damage, and Identification

Broad mites - Lifecycle, Damage, and Identification

Common Name: Broad mites

Scientific Name: Polyphagotarsonemus latus

Order and Family: Trombidiformes,  Tarsonemidae

Host range

Broad mites have a vast host range, affecting over 60 plant families. They are particularly problematic in peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, and a variety of ornamental plants including begonias, gerberas, and african violets. 

Signs & Symptoms

Broad mite damage can often be mistaken for plant diseases or nutritional deficiencies. Infected plants exhibit curled, twisted, and distorted growth, particularly in young leaves and emerging flower buds. The leaves may take on a bronze or rust coloration, while flowers can become discoloured and fail to open properly.

Featured Characteristics 

Eggs: Broad mite eggs are one of the easiest way to ID the pest. Here’s how you can identify broad mite infestation through their eggs:

  1. Egg appearance: Broad mite eggs are oval but have a distinctive feature: they are covered with white, dot-like bumps on the surface, making them look somewhat like a jeweled transulcent ball under a microscope.

  2. Size: Broad mite eggs are very tiny, approximately 0.08mm to be exact. A strong magnifying lens or a microscope is needed to see these mites.

  3. Location of eggs: Look for these eggs on the undersides of young leaves or near the growing tips of the plant, as broad mites prefer to lay their eggs in these areas.

Identifying the eggs and recognizing their unique texture can help confirm a broad mite infestation, allowing for more targeted and effective control measures.




 Life cycle

Adult females live on average 13 days, depositing about 5 eggs. The eggs are translucent with white dots. After 2-3 days, these eggs hatch to tiny larva which start feeding. The larvae does not travel far and after another 2-3 days the larvae develop in to quiescent stage. Males develop their four pair of legs and start to pick up the females and disperse them to new areas of the plant. The males immediately mate with the females as soon as it emerges.


Biocontrol Predators

CaliLiv & SwiLiv (Amblyseius swirskii) have shown good results for preventative control of broad mites. CucuLiv (Neoseiulus cucumeris) can also help against broad mites in the cooler months.




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