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This pest was detected in
mainland U.K. in September 2007. America has had it for
over 25 years and they still grow Fuchsias so all is not
What are Fuchsia Gall Mites ?
- They are so small you will need a microscope to
see them. Gall Mites are members of the spider
family and have a worm-like whitish body with two pair
of legs. Gall Mites feed on new growth and sooner or
later the female lays eggs, which hatch in 1 --- 2
weeks. As the new leaves or buds start to grow each gall
mite punctures the new growth and starts injecting a
growth hormone substance that causes the plant tissue to
swell and become disfigured. In 2 --- 4 weeks the babies
become adults and move to new locations on the plant.
How to identify gall mite
damage - The plant parts are fused together, they
are also swollen and twisted, infected areas look hairy
and can look reddish. Some Fuchsias are more resistant
than others - so the symptoms can be more or less
obvious. It is a notifiable pest so even if found
at a minimal stage then DEFRA (in Scotland SEERAD) must
be contacted for advice etc..
How can Gall Mites be spread
? In America it is believed that it is spread by
humming birds, bees and the wind, but most frequently by
humans as they move from plant to plant, pinching out or
taking cuttings etc..
So what can we do ? - Be
vigilant, check all your plants weekly. Keep cool,
isolate any suspect plant from others - if possible in a
place with no wind. Change clothing, wash your hands,
clean your shoes and clean and tools with alcohol.
Contact DEFRA (in Scotland SEERAD) if you suspect
gall mite. Hope for a cold winter - they do not
like cold weather as their minimal temperature for
survival is 5 degrees C. Only buy plants from sources
you can be sure of.