Agriculture: Olive Pest Management Guidelines

Olive Mite

  • Oxycenus maxwelli
  • 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.

    Common name Amount to use** REI‡ PHI‡
    (Example trade name) (hours) (days)
    Not all registered pesticides are listed. The following are ranked with the pesticides having the greatest IPM value listed first—the most effective and least harmful to natural enemies, honey bees, and the environment are at the top of the table. When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to air and water quality, resistance management, and the pesticide‚Äôs properties and application timing. Always read the label of the product being used.
      (various products) 2 lb 24 0
      MODE OF ACTION: Unknown (mineral-based miticide)
      COMMENTS: Application in temperatures above 90°F may result in damage to crop.
      (various products) 70 lb 24 0
      MODE OF ACTION: Unknown (mineral-based miticide)
      COMMENTS: Dusting sulfur is less damaging than wettable sulfur in hot temperatures.
    ** Amounts per 100 gal water (except where otherwise stated), using 400-500 gal solution per acre.
    Restricted entry interval (REI) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (PHI) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
    # Acceptable for use on organically grown produce.
    Text Updated: 03/14
    Treatment Table Updated: 03/14