How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
The bermudagrass mite is an eriophyid mite that is so small it can barely be seen even with a 10X hand lens. It has a wormlike shape with all four legs and mouthparts at the anterior end. Eggs are spherical, transparent, and about one-third the length of the adult mite. They are laid under leaf sheaths. One generation (from egg through two nymphal stages and reaching the egg-laying adult stage again) takes 7 to 10 days in summer when temperatures are in the 80° to 110°F range.
Common bermudagrass. Hybrid bermudagrass is resistant.
Adult and immature mites suck juices and inject toxic saliva that shortens internodes and swells leaf sheaths, forming a witches'-broom growth pattern. Damage first appears in spring and is followed by dieback and browning in summer.
If bermudagrass mite is infesting turfgrass, reducing nitrogen fertilization and close mowing or scalping with removal of clippings can slow down reproduction of, or physically remove, bermudagrass mites. To confirm presence of this mite, examine leaf sheaths of stunted plants with a 10X or 30X hand lens for mites and their eggs. Damage thresholds have not been established for this pest, but if a treatment seems necessary, mow the turf closely and remove clippings first. In addition to physically removing most of the population, it may also displace remaining mites so that they are more readily contacted by the miticide. After mowing, irrigate the turf and spray while the grass is still wet. To increase the chance of getting the pesticide under the leaf sheath, add adequate spreader-sticker to the spray mixture. Do not water or cut the grass within 24 hours of chemical treatment. A second application 10 days after the first may be necessary to obtain satisfactory control.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Turfgrass