YOU GUESS IT??
itch mites feeding on oak leaf gall maggots
Can You Guess It?? photo appears in the September
2005 Nebline Newsletter.
of NebraskaĖLincoln (UNL) entomologists, are seeing signs
of Pyemotes itch mites. The tiny mites may again be
a problem in late summer and early fall.
though the numbers seem low now, populations of Pymotes itch
mites can increase rapidly.
female can produce as many as 200-300 adult offspring. With
a population doubling time of two days, Pyemotes mites can
number in the millions quickly.
could be similar to last yearís epidemic where thousands of
Lincolnites reported suffering itchy red welts on their upper
torsos, necks and arms. Most people were exposed to itch mites
when spending leisure time outdoors or doing yard work. These
mites dropped from oak leaves onto unsuspecting victims. UNL
and KSU traced the problem to the itch mites known by the
scientific name Pyemotes herfsi. This outbreak ó apparently
the first widespread case in North America ó was noticed in
Missouri and Texas, in addition to Nebraska and Kansas.
you have oak trees lining your street or in your yard, check
trees for leaf edge galls (Photo right - click to enlarge).
This includes pin oaks, red and black oaks. Burr oaks are
not affected by this gall insect and wonít produce mites.
Early reports suggest that, in some areas, galls are abundant
again this year.
As things look right now, people spending time near leaf gall-infested
oak trees will likely be exposed to mites from late August
until frost or even later.
you can do:
insecticide treatments of oak trees is of little value because
mites are protected inside the leaf gall.
the oak itch mite infestation turns out to be as bad as the
one last year is yet to be known, but all the ingredients
are present for history to repeat itself. Sources: Dave Keith,
UNL and K-State Research & Extension News.