IDENTIFICATION — These minute, semitransparent mites are too small for the naked eye to see. They hide in young, tender stem ends, leaves and flower buds of cyclamens (Cyclamen spp.) and many other indoor and outdoor plants. But their damage is obvious. Like all sucking bugs, these spider relatives cause wrinkled, curled growth and stunted flowers and foliage. Their damage first appears as light, speckled areas, which later spread over the entire leaf surface. Affected foliage turns yellow and eventually dies and drops off.
CONTROL — Cyclamen mites crawl from plant to plant across “bridges” where leaves touch each other or they hitch a ride on clothing or hands. Examine plants you bring into the garden or the house for signs of the pest, and wash hands and clothing after working with infested plants.
If you catch them early, you can remove cyclamen mites from plants with a high-pressure stream of water. Spray the entire plant, especially the undersides of the leaves, with a jet from a hose. Or, use an insecticidal soap, such as Safer®, on all the leaf surfaces. Spray until the soap drips off. Just discard heavily infested plants in the trash.