Fuchsia: Fuchsia gall mite
The fuchsia gall mite is a tiny eriophyid mite which infests shoot tips, young leaves, and flower buds. Damage appears as distortion, twisting, blistering, or swelling. Tissues may become thickened and form irregular, light green to reddish galls. The pale yellow adult mites are extremely small (less than 1/100 inch long). Because of their size, they are unlikely to be noticed on the plant, so galling is usually the first sign of an infestation. Adults are wormlike in shape, with two pairs of legs at the front of the body. The mites hide within plant structures, such as galls, bud scales, or loose bark. They typically spread by wind currents and may also be moved between plants by physical contact, including humans, insects, and hummingbirds. Fuchsia gall mites are a pest primarily in cool, coastal regions with mild winters.
Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!
- Plant resistant species and varieties of fuchsia. Consider replacing highly susceptible varieties where possible.
- Prune or pinch out and destroy or dispose of damaged tissues. Be sure to cut back to healthy tissues. Do not compost infested plant materials.
- Wash hands, gloves, and clothing and clean your tools after working with infested plants.
- When fuchsias are dormant, reduce numbers of overwintering mites by pruning plants severely. On hardy fuchsias, remove leaves and loose bark and cut back stems. Clean underneath plants to further reduce overwintering sites.
- Predatory mites may be important predators of fuchsia gall mites. Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides to preserve populations of beneficial mites.
- Fuchsia gall mites may be introduced on infested plants. Examine new plants carefully before adding them to your garden.
IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.
- Apply when overwintered fuchsias begin to produce foliage.
- Waiting too long in areas where this mite is established will result in reduced control.
- High reproductive rates of this mite may mean that chemical control is only partly successful.
- Use pesticides in conjunction with good sanitation practices.
Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.