How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

Onion and Garlic

Wheat Curl Mite

Scientific name: Eriophyes tulipae

(Reviewed 1/07, updated 1/07)

In this Guideline:


Wheat curl mites are microscopic white, wormlike organisms about 0.01 inch (0.25 mm) long. The legs are very small and located near the head. These mites feed on liliaceous bulbs, cereal grains, and wild grasses. These mites are smaller and more elongate than the bulb mite, which is globular in shape.


This mite is primarily a pest of stored bulbs; its feeding causes stored onions and garlic to desiccate. Wheat curl mite is a vector of rot-causing organisms in the field and in storage. Heavy field infestations result in streaking and twisting of garlic leaves and reduce the plant stand as well as yield.


Cultural Control
Fields rotated into onions or garlic from corn or sudangrass may have higher levels of wheat curl mites. Flood irrigation or heavy winter rains may reduce field populations. Avoid planting successive onion or garlic crops. Hot water treatment of seed garlic reduces seed infestation; light to moderate infestations can also be controlled during the normal drying process before storage.

Monitoring and Management Decisions
No monitoring methods have been developed. The surface of the garlic seed clove can be examined under a microscope to determine if the mites are present, but no chemical treatments are recommended.


[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Onion and Garlic
UC ANR Publication 3453

Insects and Mites

S. Orloff, UC Cooperative Extension, Siskiyou County
E.T. Natwick, UC Cooperative Extension, Imperial County
L. D. Godfrey, Entomology, UC Davis
S. K. Dara, UC Cooperative Extension, Santa Barbara County

Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:
W. E. Chaney, UC Cooperative Extension, Monterey County
R. L. Coviello, UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno County
G. J. Poole, UC Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles County

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