James R. Baker, Extension Entomologist Emeritus

CAUTION: This information was developed for North Carolina and may not apply to other areas.

[General Information] [Biology] [Control] [Other Resources]

*Phytonemus pallidus (Banks) and Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks),Tarsonemidae, ACARINA

General Information

mite imageThese mites are tiny animals, less than 0.3 mm long. Colorless or brown tinted and waxy looking, they have four pairs of legs. The fourth pair of the female is slender with a long, hair extending from the tip. The fourth pair of legs of the males ends in a strong claw. The egg of the cyclamen mite is elliptical 0.1 mm long and smooth.

broad mite eggBroad mite eggs are elliptical, translucent, colorless, about 0.08 mm long, and are each covered by 29 to 37 whitish bumps. The young mites (larvae) are about 0.2 mm long and are whitish and have three pairs of legs. The legs have microscopic claws and suction cups. The quiescent Stage appears as an immobile, engorged larva.


These mites are found throughout the United States and Europe. crinkling leavesAfrican violets are most often damaged by cyclamen mites. They also have been found on ivy, snapdragon, chrysanthemum, larkspur, geranium, fuchsia, begonia, petunia, daisy, and azalea. These mites cause tuberous begonia and cyclamen flowers to be discolored or to shrivel or wilt. Infested flowers may not open properly or may not open at all. The mites also cause puckering, crinkling, and curling of leaves; infested leaves become brittle. damaged flowerInfested cyclamen buds fail to open or the flowers are distorted. Broad mites infest African violet, ageratum, azalea, begonia, dahlia, gerbera, gloxinia, ivy, jasmine, impatiens, lantana, marigold, peperomia, snapdragon, verbena, and zinnia. Broad mites damage flowers and foliage of begonia and cyclamen, and bronze the lower leaf surfaces. Their toxic saliva causes twisted, hardened and distorted growth in the terminal of the plant.

The effects of their feeding may persist long after the mites have been eradicated. Cyclamen mites were first reported in the United States about 1900. It has since become famous as a harmful plant pest. Cyclamen mites seem to avoid light; they hide in buds and between the calyx and corolla and the stamens and ovaries of flowers. This mite also prefers high humidity. The eggs have delicate shells that can often be found collapsed among masses of unhatched eggs and mites. Deposited in moist, dark places and in small groups, the eggs require about 11 days to hatch. The mites molt only once. New larvae have wrinkled skin that stretches as they grow. They are highly active for about one week, after which they enter a quiescent stage for a few days and then molt to the adult stage. Each day the female lays two or three eggs. Eggs are relatively large in comparison to the adults.

Cyclamen mites often exist wherever old cyclamen corms are preserved in the greenhouse. If a suitable host is not present year-round, female mites may semi-hibernate in the soil until a host becomes available. Females are usually more abundant than males in the winter months, and they live longer than males.

Female broad mites lay 30 to 76 eggs on the leaf surface over an 8- to 13-day oviposition period. Unmated females lay male eggs; mated females usually lay four female eggs for every male egg. The larvae hatch in 2 or 3 days and emerge from the egg shell to feed. Larvae are slow moving and do not disperse far. In 2 or 3 days, the larvae develop into a quiescent larval stage. Quiescent female larvae become attractive to the males which pick them up and carry them to the new foliage. Males and females are very active, but the males apparently account for much of the dispersal of a broad mite population in their frenzy to carry the quiescent female larvae to new leaves. When females emerge from the quiescent stage, males immediately mate with them. Males live 5 to 9 days; females live 8 to 13 days.


Cyclamen mites and broad mites are very sensitive to heat. They are more difficult to control in winter than in summer due to lower greenhouse temperatures. Lowering infested plants into water held at 111degrees F for 15 minutes will destroy these mites without damaging the plants. Broad mites are also susceptible to various miticides. If chemical control is desired, spray or dip the plant thoroughly with one of the following pesticides.
Pesticide (Trade Name) Formulation Remarks 
abamectin (Avid) 0.15 EC 4 fl. oz per 100 gallons of water
bifenthrin (Talstar) 
bifenthrin (Talstar) 

bifenthrin (Talstar)

10 % wettable powder: 
7.9 % flowable:

0.4 % aerosol:

1 to 5 teaspoons per gallon of water.
1/2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons per gallon of water.
Follow label directions.
endosulfan (Thiodan)  24.2% emulsifiable concentrate: 2 teaspoons per gallon of water.
lambda-cyhalothrin (Scimitar GC)  10% water soluble packet: 2 to 4 packets per 100 gallons of water.
chlorfenapyr (Pylon)   2.6-5.2 fl. oz. per 100 gallons of water; for greenhouse
pyridaben (Sanmite)  75% wettable powder 2 to 4 ounces per 100 gallons of water; for greenhouse  
spiromesifen (Judo)   2 to 4 ounces per 100 gallons of water GH & Nursery
spiromesifen (Forbid)   Outdoor landscape
See NC Pesticide Manual ("broad mite" and "cyclamen mite") for more choices.

Recommendations for the use of chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact an agent of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in your county. 

Other Resources

© 2001 NC Cooperative Extension Service

Prepared by: James R. Baker, Extension Entomologist Emeritu

ENT/ort-28 February 1997 (Revised)

Web page last reviewed January, 2010 by the webperson.