How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
Onion and Garlic
Wheat Curl Mite
Scientific name: Eriophyes tulipae
In this Guideline:
Wheat curl mites are microscopic white, wormlike organisms about
0.01 inch (0.25 mm) long. The legs are very small and located near the head.
These mites feed on liliaceous bulbs, cereal grains, and wild grasses. These
mites are smaller and more elongate than the bulb mite, which is globular in
This mite is primarily a pest of stored bulbs; its feeding causes
stored onions and garlic to desiccate. Wheat curl mite is a vector of
rot-causing organisms in the field and in storage. Heavy field infestations
result in streaking and twisting of garlic leaves and reduce the plant stand as
well as yield.
Fields rotated into onions or garlic from
corn or sudangrass may have higher levels of wheat curl mites. Flood irrigation
or heavy winter rains may reduce field populations. Avoid planting successive
onion or garlic crops. Hot water treatment of seed garlic reduces seed
infestation; light to moderate infestations can also be controlled during the
normal drying process before storage.
and Management Decisions
No monitoring methods have been developed.
The surface of the garlic seed clove can be examined under a microscope to
determine if the mites are present, but no chemical treatments are recommended.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Onion and Garlic
UC ANR Publication 3453
Insects and Mites
S. Orloff, UC Cooperative
Extension, Siskiyou County
E.T. Natwick, UC Cooperative Extension, Imperial County
G. J. Poole, UC Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles County
Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:
R. L. Coviello, UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno County
W. E. Chaney, UC Cooperative Extension, Monterey County
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