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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Bermudagrass mite — Eriophyes cynodoniensis

Adult mites
Photo by David J. Shetlar, Ohio State University

Witches' broom
Photo by David J. Shetlar, Ohio State University

bermudagrass mite damage
Photo by A.D. Ali

Click on images to enlarge.

Identification

The bermudagrass mite is extremely small and can barely be seen with a 10X hand lens. An eriophyid mite, it has a wormlike shape with all four legs and mouthparts at the anterior end.

Hosts

Bermudagrass

Damage

Adults and nymphs suck plant juices from stems and within leaf sheaths. They inject toxic saliva that shortens internodes and swells leaf sheaths, forming a witches’-broom growth pattern. Damage begins in spring and is followed by dieback and browning in summer.

Monitoring information

Look for plants that are stunted or swollen. Look for mites inside of leaf sheaths. You will need a hand lens to see them.

Management

If bermudagrass mites are a problem, reduce nitrogen fertilizer, mow closely, and remove mowing clippings. This will slow down the development of mites and physically remove most of the population.

Life cycle

For more information on lawn insects, refer to:
Pest Notes: Lawn Insects

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Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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