Acalitus phloeocoptes

Acalitus phloeocoptes (Nalepa)

Common name: Plum tree bud mite.

Taxonomic placing: Acari, Prostigmata, Eriophyoidea Eriophyidae.

Geographical distribution: The Mediterranean region, Europe, The eastern United States.

Host plants: Almond, apricot, peach and plums, specially of the European cultivars.

Morphology: The adult mite is whitish, about 0.13-0.15 mm long, The featherclaw is five-rayed. The prodorsum has no markings.

Life cycle: The pest overwinters within the hardened galls that had resulted from its infestations. In spring the galls crack and the emerging mites move into new buds. As these buds harden to become galls the mites remain therein and proliferate during summer. Several hundred, or even thousand, mites may live within a single gall, especially on almonds, and are more slender than the summer mites. Several generations are completed within one year. Wind-borne or insect-borne dispersal takes place in the spring, as the mites emerge from the galls.

Economic importance: Mite infestations result in the formation of wooden galls and deformations of the the vegetative and fruit shoots of host trees. Young branches may die and the attacked trees weaken and even die within a few years.


Plant resistance: Certain plum cultivars, like Beauty, are not attacked by the pest.

Chemical control: Two treatments with the pesticide endosulfan, applied early in the season, reduced infestations by 95% in Spain.

Biological control: Several Phytoseiidae and Ascidae feed on the mite voraciously, but their controlling effect is not clear.


Ben-David, T. and Shamian, S. 2011. European plum galls caused by the Plum tree bud mite, Acalitus phloeocoptes. Alon Hanotea 65: 26-28 (in Hebrew).

Lacasa, A., Torres, J. and Martinez, M.C. 1990. Acalitus phloeocoptes (Nalepa) Acarina: Eriophidae) plaga del ciruelo en el Sureste Español. Bot San Veg Plagas 16: 285-295.

Sternlicht, M., Goldenberg, S and Cohen. M. 1973. Development of the plum gall mite, Acalitus phloeocoptes (Eriophyidae). Annales de zoologie - écologie animale 5: 365-377.

Talhouk, A.S. 1963. Aceria phloeocoptes (Nal.), a serious eriophyid pest of almond in Lebanon and Syria. Anzeiger für Schädlingskunde 36: 129-132.