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A web-spinning mite: (2012)

Rhododendron subgenus Tsutsuji Azalea

Image 01-10-12

This image shows the damage these mites do to azalea.  Purple tissue and fine webbing on upper leaf surfaces.  From initial observations upon the various species now identified with these mites in my yard it would appear that the majority of the mites can be found on the upper surfaces of the leaves which should equate to easier treatment.  In addition, for quite a few of the species afflicted by these mites it would appear that anthocyan production/induction is an almost tell-tale sign they are there. 

Image 01-10-12

Bush trimmed for shape.  The west facing side (that which faces the Sacramento valley) are the sides on all the azaleas on the property which show damage.  Those free of mites are all green.  This and other azaleas nearby have suffered this condition for years, every winter, which I associated with cold temperatures.  However, being that the "banana belt effect" is most definitely in effect this year for the yard, temperatures have dropped to below 40 degrees Fahrenheit only a couple of nights so far this year.  Valley temperatures have been down into the low 30s.

Image 01-10-12

Sample ready for microscopy.

Image 01-10-12

Webbing with dead mite.

Image 01-10-12

Leaf tip with webbing and debris.

Image 01-10-12

Dorsal mid-rib with exoskeletons and some debris all of which was along the mid rib.  No other webbing or debris was noted on the other dorsal surfaces.