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Welcome to The Northwest Fuchsia Society Website!  23  new hardies on the Hardy List in shocking pink!   NEW SPECIES BOOKLET under "Fuchsia Books".

 

Aculops fuchsiae Resistant Hybridized

Aculops fuchsiae: FUCHSIA GALL MITE

                  -an eriophyid mite

 

BACKGROUND

            Fuchsia gall mite (Keifer) from Brazil was first described in 1972.  In 1981 fuchsia mites appeared  in California where they spread rapidly and decimated the fuchsia industry.  By 2003, growers in Brittany, France, had infestations. Today they are in the UK as well.

            In the Pacific Northwest, fuchsia gall mite had infested plants intermittently over ten years.  Then in  2004 & 2005, serious infestations were found in gardens from Tacoma to Portland, presumably because of warm winters.  By the summer of 2006, following a cold winter, no damage was found on any winter hardy fuchsias in the gardens. The mites froze.

            The Northwest Fuchsia Society (NWFS), primarily in Western Washington & Oregon, USA,  compiled and distributed information on fuchsia gall mite and how to minimize the problem-- before it got out of hand.  Using California’s 20+ years of experience and with input from Northwest growers, dealing with fuchsia mites effectively should be possible when gall mite problems occur again in PNW yards and greenhouses. Information on this site will be updated as more is learned.

 

RECOGNIZING FUCHSIA GALL MITE

 

Aculops fuchsiae, an eriophyid mite, cannot be seen with  the naked eye, and these mites multiply rapidly. They affect only fuchsias and are not to be confused with ‘spider mite’.  They have two pairs of legs and resemble worms. The fuchsia mites live and reproduce within the folds of galled tissue and among plant hairs.  Without a 40+x microscope, their presence can be identified only by the grotesque damage that they do:

(Courtesy of AFS)

                                                                   

     >Plant parts (leaves, flowers, stems) are fused  together, twisted,  & swollen, forming galls. .                                                                                                                 

     >Infected areas may look hairy with reddish  and whitish areas.               

Early detection- new leaves thicken, redden, become hairy, & chunky galls and lumps appear. Gardeners suspecting fuchsia gall mite and wanting to verify this, should cut off an affected part of the plant, place it in a Zip Lock bag, and seek assistance from a local fuchsia group or the county Extension Office.  Do not assume that because some leaves are curled or unhealthy (aphids and other insects can cause this!) that the plant has gall mite.

Photos-  Larry Mason

 

The life-cycle of Aculops fuchsiae is 2-4 weeks with four stages: egg, larva, nymph, adult. The females lay ~50 eggs at one time, and in 1-2 weeks, they hatch.  (If even half of those 50 eggs produce baby mites , in no time at all, there are hundreds!)  The wee mites are expert at hiding in plant structures to avoid danger, and controlling them is difficult but not impossible.   

 Dispersal of fuchsia gall mites is done by the wind, insects, birds and especially by gardeners handling an infected plant and moving on to another-- with the mites hitchhiking on hands, clothes, hair…

 PREVENTION & CONTROLS

BIOLOGICAL CONTROLS: Aculops fuchsiae has predators, some believed to have been helpful in California, but these predators cannot get to all of these elusive, wee fuchsia mites.  Control potential here is limited.

CLIMATIC CONTROLS: With 7 nights of temperatures in the teens and low 20's in the winter of 2006, the climatic control potential in  Western Washington and Oregon has become better known.  Even 3-4 nights of low temps seems to kill the mites.  Presumably, the NWFS has found a minimum range of  temperature or perhaps it is the length of the freeze under which gall mites cannot survive. We now know that infestations in gardens with fuchsias that are outdoors all winter is a ‘warm winter’ problem.  On HARDIES in the PNW, freezes, when in the teens and low 20's for 3-4 nights, perhaps less, kill the mites.

CONTROL BY FUCHSIA GROWERS: How fuchsia growers raise their fuchsias has an enormous effect on spreading fuchsia mite.  Advice from the American Fuchsia Society (AFS) based in San Francisco, suggests 3 approaches:

1. Destroy fuchsia mite infected plants.  New starts are inexpensive. They should be purchased from fuchsia specialists who are aware of the problem and have a program to avoid it.  ASK!  If they can't or won't tell you, go elsewhere. 

 

Then consider…

 

2.  Grow hardies outdoors, all year in the PNW.  Let freezes control the mites.

 

3. Raise Gall Mite Resistant and Immune fuchsias.  Some fuchsias show ugly galls, but not all. Brazilian fuchsias, where the mite originated, have developed resistance to the damage.  Mites may be present, but damage is minor. Several species are resistant to the damage and pass that trait on to their offspring.  Some fuchsias are even immune to damage.  Hybridizers in California are raising new cultivars specifically for their gall mite, damage resistance. They are appearing in PNW fuchsia nurseries. 

 

4. If mite damage appears and destroying the plant is not an option

:                                             Prune out the damaged area in the plant parts.   

                                              Use chemical controls- choices listed below.

 

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Prevention- For greenhouse plants and/or plants that don't freeze:

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Start chemical controls in dormancy just BEFORE the new leaves appear.             

                    Saturate the plant &soil.   

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To be successful, you need to be persistent and follow directions carefully.

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For the dormant period (fall & winter) in greenhouses, prune plants severely.

              Deeply planted hardies may be pruned even harder.

              Remove the leaves, young stems & most leaf nodes, galls, & loose bark

                  where the mites reproduce, feed and over-winter. 

              Clean up underneath the plants. Give fuchsia mites as little area as possible

                  to hide in.  

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During the plant’s growth periods (spring & summer), cut out any fuchsia mite

                        infected area: cut two nodes below it.

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Develop a spraying program to delay more mites hatching (see below) & to keep

                        plants healthy.

 

In general, establish a program to keep plants healthy; stick to it so that you

                 don’t spread mites to neighbors and re-infect your own plants. 

 

     Do not work on an infected plant and then go to one not infected

     YOU will just spread the mite.

 

     In handling infected plant material, wear disposable gloves, burn the plant

     material or place it in a plastic bag, tie it up snuggly, and put it and the gloves

     in the garbage. 

     Do NOT compost or recycle it.

 

    Shower and change your clothes before you work on clean plants—don’t let

    the mites hitchhike on you.

 

    Disinfect tools and containers.

 

    If possible, isolate infected plants and keep animals away; they could also carry

    mites to other fuchsias.

 

CHEMICAL CONTROLS:

 

 

IMPORTANT-  Whatever chemical controls you use…

      1.  Choose products specified for Aculops fuchsiae/fuchsia gall mite or eriophyid  mites & safe for fuchsias or ornamental plants.  Notice whether it’s an indoor or outdoor product. Names of pesticides can be similar and confusing.   Read the label !

      2.  Read the directions carefully and follow them so that plants are not re-infected.

      3.  Read and follow the safety precautions.  Some products are toxic to humans and  other animals.

       

 

CONTACT SPRAYS- Partial/Temporary Control

 

After pruning and cleaning up infested plants, contact sprays can help control mites.  Saturate the plant because light applications will build immunity.  With contact sprays you want to get the new hatchlings, so remembering the life cycle,  three applications, 7-10 days apart are needed- or as directed for fuchsia mite on the product. Some will recommend 4 days apart.

 

Contact sprays include horticultural oils and soaps which smother the mites (as well as other pests) like Safer Oil & Ultra Fine Oil (by Sunspray), Volck Oil (by Chevron), Hot Pepper Wax…

To be most effective, use with a ‘spreader sticker’.  

Control potential is limited with contact sprays; plants may get re-infected.

 

If you have had serious gall mite damage and/or have many fuchsias, you may choose stronger products with active ingredients that kill fuchsia mites. They have a much higher control potential, are relatively safe when correctly used  and are longer lasting.  For example- Sevin in 2012 has an active ingredient called carbaryl  that kills eriophyid mites.  However, it is a hazard to bees and aquatic life.  Keep away from standing water;  remove any blossoms that may attract bees. Spray outdoors and let dry if bringing back indoors.)  NOTE:  a product listed as effective on "mites" refers to spider mites and not to eriophyid mites.  Look for key words: miticide, acaricide--eriophyid mites

  

SYSTEMICS-  The Most Effective Control

 

Most effective are products with systemic qualities, but again, there are hazards to consider.   

Commercial nurseries have access to products not available to the public. "Avid" brand is one that is effective on fuchsia mite but leave these treatments up to the professional grower.

 

SOURCES:

Dr. Carlton Koehler, et al, entomologist, Urban Pest Management, U. of California,  AFS Bulletin, Aug., 1985.

AFS Bulletins- 1982-2005;

American Fuchsia Society- www.americanfuchsiasociety.org;

European Plant Protection Org.- www.eppo.org;

Texas A & M Extension Service- www.tamu.edu;

Bayer, Ortho,  Sunspray & Sevin product labels.

 NWFS Gall Mite Committee- Salli Dahl, dahlhaus@myhome.net; Frankie Dennison, rldmfd@earthlink.net;  Ron  Herzog, ronh@americanrooftop.com ; Gwen Jensen, gjensen11@juno.com;

Update-  2012

 

The Northwest Fuchsia Society was established in 1983.

 

Mailing address:

Northwest Fuchsia Society

12735- 1st Ave. NW

Seattle, WA 98177-4221