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Eriophyid mites on stored garlic


Aceria tulipae Keifer ( = Eriophyes tulipae)

This mite is known as the dry bulb mite. This is not the same as the wheat curl mite, which infects cereals and other grasses. Eriophyid mites are tiny banana-shaped mites that are too small to see without magnification.


Aceria tulipae is common and infects wild and cultivated members of the genus Allium , including onion, garlic, and leeks. It also infects tulips.


Streaks and spotting of garlic due to eriophyid mites.In storage, feeding injury is seen as sunken brown spots on garlic cloves. Feeding damage on garlic leads to drying of cloves and rotting by disease organisms.

Life Cycle

Aceria tulipae is found between the layers of the bulbs in storage. The eggs, nymphs, and adults overwinter on infected garlic while in storage, and can also survive in the soil. Infested cloves are the most frequent source of infection in the field. Maximum egg hatch while in storage occurs at close to 100 % relative humidity, and the time to complete a life cycle, from egg to adult to egg was 8-Eriophyid mites on the surface of a garlic clove. Photo by Melodie Putnam10 days at 75 - 80 º F.


  • Avoid successive onion and garlic crops.
  • Flood irrigation or heavy winter rain will reduce mite populations.
  • Hot water treatment of bulbs prior to planting can reduce mite populations, but effective temperatures also reduce germination. Effective times and temperatures were 130 º F for 10-20 min, or 140 º F for 10-15 min.
  • Good control was reported with soaking affected cloves for 24 h in 2% soap (not detergent) and 2% mineral oil.
  • Light or moderate infestations are controlled with the normal drying process prior to storage.


CAB International Crop Protection Compendium, 2006. CABI, Wallingford, UK (

Courtin, O., Fauvel, G., & Leclant, F. 2000. Temperature and relative humidity effects on egg and nymphal development of Aceria tulipae (K.) (Acari: Eriophyidae) on garlic leaves ( Allium sativum L.). Annals of Applied Biology 137:207.

Keifer, H.H., E.W. Baker, T. Kano, M. Delfinado & W.E. Styer, 1982. An illustrated guide to plant abnormalities caused by Eriophyid mites in North America . Agriculture Handbook Number 573. United State Department of Agriculture

Perring, T.M. 1996. Vegetables. In: Lindquist, E.E., Sabelis, M.W., and Bruin, J. eds. Eriophyid Mites Their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. World Crop Pests 6:593-610.

UC IPM Online Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. Onion and garlic wheat curl mite.




May 27, 2009