Experts call for action to curb flat scarlet mite damage

Flat scarlet mite - a pest that has not been troublesome since the 1950s - is staging a comeback, experts have warned apple growers.

The mite can cause significant downgrading of fruit and appears to have been unaffected by the cold early winter.

Kent-based UAP fruit agronomist Neil Obbard said he had been finding it in an increasing number of orchards since he first noticed it in 2009 - five years after it became prevalent in the West Midlands and East Anglia.

Obbard maintained: "If the pest is ignored it multiplies to a high enough level to cause considerable damage to the fruit due to the feeding of adults and larvae around the calyx. This causes rusetting, rendering the fruit unsaleable."

He added that egg-carrying female mites overwinter on the tree bark and in the spring migrate to the rosette leaves and blossom trusses and later the fruitlets to feed and lay their eggs.

East Malling Research team leader Professor Jerry Cross said the mite was present in many orchards "without growers realising".

If left alone, over a few years it can increase to damaging levels and so it cannot be ignored, he warned.

RECOMMENDED TREATMENT ENVIDOR SPRAY NEEDS ONLY ONE DOSE

Fruit agronomist Neil Obbard has found the most effective answer for flat scarlet mite to be an Envidor (spirodiclofen) spray in late May or early June. "It does a super job and you only need one dose," he said.

Envidor has the added advantage of controlling other pests that can be present at the same time, said Obbard. These include red spider mite, rust mite, mussel scale and pear sucker.

It binds to the leaf wax to ensure the good rainfastness that is so important for their effective, prolonged control. Furthermore, it is safe to pest predators such as "typhs", Obbard added.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

Upcoming reforms to water abstraction licensing will for the first time cap the amount of water that fruit growers can take for trickle irrigation.

Getting a measure of the production labour crisis

Getting a measure of the production labour crisis

At a debate during last week's Fruit Focus trade show in Kent, senior industry figures painted a bleak picture of an increasingly difficult seasonal labour market that is already impacting on investment.

What will post-Brexit pesticides authorisation and capital support for fresh produce look like?

What will post-Brexit pesticides authorisation and capital support for fresh produce look like?

The likely impact on seasonal labour has dominated discussions of the consequences of withdrawal from the EU for UK production horticulture.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon