Control of Fuchsia Gall Mite
This article written by Evelyn, at Weidners, Southern California.
Fuchsia Gall Mite is a West Coast fuchsia problem. You go out one day and notice that the growing tips of your fuchsia looks thickened and curled, maybe furry and reddish looking. Somehow it reminds one of a cancerous growth. What you are looking at is the results of a tiny microscopic mite called Aculops fuchsiae. This mite came in from Brazil into the northern California area in 1981. You need a good microscope to see this mite so don't bother looking for it. When the mite feeds it inject saliva into the leaves and they get this swollen distorted look, a little like peach leaf curl. Some fuchsias are supposed to be more mite resistant than others. We will have a few of those this summer but until we try it we don;t really know if they are more reistant or not. Fuchsia gall mite seems to be much worse in cool weather. How did you get this nasty little mite onto your beautiful fuchsias and what can you do about it. We'll try to help you with your problem.
This mite is spread mostly by hummingbirds, but also by hands, wind and passing insects. Be careful as you are looking at your other fuchsias. I can see you now with a friend in the garden. . "Look! this fuchsia has gall mite, You hold the branch up to see it better. See the twisted leaves." You then walk over to another fuchsia, lift a branch up and examine the tips. "This one looks just fine. You triumphantly proclaim to your friend." Well, it may have been clean before but now you have spread a few mites onto your new fuchsia. You need to take off all the affected foliage, wear throw-away gloves and put your foliage in a plastic bag and throw it all away. Then you need to start to spray. There are a number of sprays that are supposed to be effective miticides.
At the end of this page we will list all that we know about. We carry most of them at Weidners. Lots of nurseries will tell you to just throw away your plants. Thanks to one of our customers who tried and succeeded in solving her fuchsia gall mite problem with the spray Sevin. Here are her tips and she says they really worked. She used the spray called Sevin. We carry Sevin and also Isotox. We used to have 'cygon 2e but that is no longer available so Isotox is the next best. Both are good miticides. The new spray by Bayer called Rose Advance is also a possible spray. Now comes the important part. The four day schedule. You need to spray on a four day schedule at least 3 times. Think about it....the gall mite has a 21 day life and the gestation period for baby mites is 4 days. By spraying on a 4 day schedule you catch the little tiny baby mites as they hatch. If you wait to spray or only spray once then the mites can grow up and lay moreeggs and start to work again. After you have cut off the bad parts you need to spray thoroughly all the fuchsias that you have. Only fuchsias, this mite doesn't bother other plants. Watch carefully for any re-infestation and deal with it immediately.
Here is a list of some of the other materials that are available to fight Fuchsia Gall Mites.
Sevin, Isotox Insect Killer by Ortho, Bayer Rose Advance, Ultra Fine or other light Horticultural Oil sprays, Hot Pepper Wax. There may be other miticides out there that I do not know about. We have not tried these particular sprays so we are not making any recommendation. Always read the directions all the way through. Wear gloves, long sleeves or other protective clothing and wash up afterwards. When you have to spray it is better to spray thoroughly and only spray the plants that need it. A light spray can allow the insects to more easily develop immunity.
Attack of Fuchsia Gall Mite