You won’t see them, but fig mites can bring serious diseases to your figs.
Fig mites (Eriophyes ficus, also known as Aceria fici) are a type of eriophyid mite and they are found worldwide.
Fig mite description
Adult fig mites are pale yellow, wedge-shaped, and have two pairs of legs near the head, but they are extremely small. Even with a 20x hand lens, these mites are difficult to see. Larvae look something like a fat plant hair that moves. At only 1/250” long, the only way you will know they are present is by using a microscope or looking for signs of the damage they cause.
Damage caused by fig mites
Fig mites often infest young leaves and bud scales. Fig mite feeding causes russeting, most commonly seen on the underside of leaves and on the bottom of figs. Russeting transforms smooth, healthy tissue into rough, brown, dry tissue. Fig mite feeding also results in fruit and leaf drop and twig stunting. The real problem with fig mites is that they can carry and transmit fig mosaic. Trees infected with fig mosaic should be removed, so it is worth the effort.
Fig mite control
Monitor leaves for signs of mite feeding from late spring through summer. If fig mites are seen, apply sulfur or horticultural oils, depending on the time of year. [Oils can burn leaves in summer.] I have also seen anecdotal recommendations for the use of spinosad against fig mites, but I do not know how effective it is.
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