Cyclamen mites attack a variety of herbaceous plants including snapdragon, chrysanthemum, cyclamen, larkspur, geranium, daisy, strawflower, and others. Infested plants may exhibit the following symptoms: new growth is stunted, leaves become distorted, buds fail to open or flowers are small and distorted. The leaves become brittle and may change color from green to bronze, gray or tan. The tiny mites feed about the base of the plant, in the buds or on injured areas on the leaves.
Close-up of cyclamen mite. Photo: John Davidson, University of Maryland
Broad mites cause similar injury to plants as cyclamen mites. Damage leaves have a blistered, silvery appearance. They feed on the undersurface of leaves and move about rapidly. The leaves may become brittle and curl or pucker downward. Broad mites are pale and almost translucent and very minute (less than 0.2 mm). Plants attacked include cyclamen, delphinium, snapdragon, begonia, marguerite, chrysanthemum, geranium, marigold, verbena, and zinnia. Sulfur dust may give some control in the home garden. Check the label carefully for directions and any precautions.
Healthy Gerbera daisy plant on the left, plant infested with broad mites on the right. Photo: Chazz Hesselein, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Bugwood.org
Isolate any infested plants immediately. Discard badly damaged plants.