How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
Scientific name: Bryobia rubrioculus
(Reviewed 10/14, updated 10/14)
In this Guideline:
DESCRIPTION OF THE PEST
The brown mite can be an economic pest of apricots. It is the largest of all apricot pest mites. Brown mite eggs hatch in early spring and the newly hatched mites are red with six legs. After the first molt they are brown with eight legs and resemble the adult. Adults are flattened with long front legs. The mites feed only during the cool parts of the day, and migrate off the leaves during midday. They are not active during hotter periods of the summer. There are two to three generations per year between February and June.
Brown mite is seldom a pest; feeding causes yellowing of the foliage, but leaves rarely drop. Infestations are generally localized and confined to a few trees.
Predators will generally keep brown mite numbers below damaging levels. Allowing low numbers of brown mites in the orchard during spring enables mite predators to increase their numbers to levels that are more effective in controlling webspinning mites. Generally, hot weather and predators cause brown mite numbers to decline in summer.
The western predatory mite and brown lacewing are both effective predators, but alone may not control brown mite numbers. Nevertheless, it is important to avoid insecticides that will kill these natural enemies.
Organically Acceptable Methods
Use biological control and oil sprays on organically grown apricots.
These mites are generally controlled by a dormant spray of oil. Occasionally there may be an infestation during a cool spring when dormant treatments were inadequate.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Apricot
Insects and Mites
W. W. Coates, UC Cooperative Extension, San Benito County
Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:L. C. Hendricks, UC Cooperative Extension, Merced County