How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
Scientific Name: Oxyenus maxwelli
(Reviewed 3/14, updated 3/14)
In this Guideline:
Description of the pest
The olive mite occurs throughout all commercial olive districts in California. The olive tree, Olea europaea, is the preferred host. Commercial varieties, listed from high to low susceptibility, are Ascolano, Sevillano, Manzanillo, and Mission.
Olive mite is an eriophyid mite and is difficult to see without magnification. The mite is yellowish to dark tan, slow moving, and has a wedge-shaped body that is typical of many eriophyid species.
As a rule, this pest is not a major problem. Olive mites feed on succulent stem and bud tissues and on the upper surface of leaves. Gross symptoms of mite damage include sickle-shaped leaves, dead vegetative buds in spring, discoloration of flower buds, bud drop, blossom blasting, inflorescence abscission, and reduced shoot growth.
Olive mite is generally not managed in olives unless fruit set and crop have been below normal for several years. If crop yield has been increasingly poor for several years in a row, examine shoot tips and developing flower buds in spring for the presence of olive mites. Treat before bloom if large populations are present.
Organically Acceptable Methods
Sulfur sprays are acceptable for use on organically certified crops.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Olive
Insects and Mites
F. G. Zalom, Entomology, UC Davis