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Fruit and Vegetable: Small but mite-y

Garlic mites have been mighty inconvenient this year, but they’re also indicative of larger-scale issues in garlic-growing.

February 16, 2022   by Alex Barnard

Garlic mites were more prevalent during the 2021 season due to the extremely wet, humid periods during harvest and curing, creating favourable conditions for the mites in storage. All photos courtesy of Travis Cranmer, OMAFRA.

Have you noticed your stored garlic shrinking and developing brown spots? You might have garlic mites.

Travis Cranmer, vegetable crop specialist (Brassicas, Alliums and leafy vegetables) with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), says these mites have been more prevalent this year due to the extremely wet, humid periods during harvest, especially during curing – creating favourable conditions for the mites.

The pest most likely to be causing the lesions is known as the Acarid bulb mite, which lives between the papery layers on the clove. They are present in the soil and hitch a ride on the bulb when it is put in storage or overwinter on fall-planted garlic or crop debris. The mites can survive during the growing season on other crops, including corn, grains, Brassicas, or grassy cover crops.

This article originally featured in Fruit and Vegetable Magazine. Read the full version here. 

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