Aceria tulipae

Aceria tulipae Keifer

(In the past this species has often been confused with Aceria tosichella).

Systematic position: Acari, Prostigmata, Eriophyoidea, Eriophyidae.

Common name: Dry bulb mite (DBM).

Morphology: Body of the adult mite is 0.19-0.30 mm in length, whitish, leg I of female with a 7-rayed featherclaw, that of male is 6-rayed. Prodorsal shield almost triangular, with short median lines restricted to the posterior part of the shield.

Distribution: Cosmopolitan.

Life history: The mites complete a generation in 1-2 weeks, fecundity comes to 25 eggs/female and survive for several weeks. The calculated threshold of development is at 6ºC. They feed on the bulb’s growing points, live between the layers of the garlic (Allium sativum L.) cloves and inside the leaves, forming small galls. In storage the mites disperse by walking, on mild prevailing air streams (due to ventilation) and between sites, by the transportation of infested bulbs.

Economic importance: Aceria tulipae feeds on the young leaves and the layers in bulbs of various Amaryllidaceae and Liliaceae, such as (respectively) garlic, onion (Allium cepa L.) and tulip (Tulipa sp.). This causes stunting, twisting, discoloration of scales, flowers, foliage and even failure to develop. Most of the damage is caused in storage, especially if it is prolonged. Some of the symptoms are probably due to viruses, such as Tulip Virus X (TVX), transmitted by the mite. Losses to various crops, caused by the mite and the vectored viruses, were estimated to reach up to 40%.


Horticultural and physical control: Sanitation and dipping infested garlic bulbs, just prior to storage or to planting, in hot (around 50ºC) water for 15-20 minutes. Dipping in soap with wet sulfur or mineral oil is also effective,

Plant resistance: Much variation occurs in the susceptibility of garlic, onion and tulip cultivars to the mite. Bolting garlic cultivars were highly infested, whereas non-bolting varieties were almost immune.

Chemical control: Many pesticides, often mixed with mineral oil, whether applied in the storage space or directly on the bulbs, provide a measure of damage reduction. Organophosphates and the acaricide bromopropylate provided satisfactory control.

Biological control: Tulip bulbs infested by A. tulipae emit volatiles that attract predatory Phytoseiidae. A promising candidate is Neoseiulus paspalivorus DeLeon, which is small enough to move in between the bulb scales


Bala, S.C., Karmakar, K. and Ghosh, S.K. 2015. Population dynamics of mite, Aceria tulipae (Keif.) on garlic (_Allium sativum L.) and its management under Bengal basin. International Journal of Science, Environment and Technology 4: 1365-1372.

Conijn, C.G.M., van Aartrijk and Lesna, I. 1996. Flower bulbs. Chapter 3.2.12. In: Lindquist, E.E., Sabelis, M.W. and Bruin, J. (eds), Eriophyoid Mites – Their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam.

Courtin, O, Fauvel, G and Leclant, F. 2000. Temperature and relative humidity effects on egg and nymphal development of Aceria tulipae (Keifer) (Acari: Eriophyidae) on garlic leaves (Allium sativum L.). Annals of Applied Biology 137: 207–211.

Denizhan, E. 2012. Aceria tulipae (Keifer, 1938) new record for the Turkish eriophyoid fauna. Bitki Koruma Bülteni 52:119-122.

Lesna, I., da Silva, F.R., Sato, Y., Sabelis, M. and Lommen, S.T.E. 2014. Neoseiulus paspalivorus a predator from coconut, as a candidate for controlling dry bulb mites infesting stored tulip bulb. Experimental and Applied Acarology 63: 189-204.

Lommen, S.T.E., Conijn, C.G.M., Lemmers, M.E.C., Pham, K.T.K. and de Kock, M.J.D. 2012. Mites as vector of Tulip Virus X in stored tulip bulbs. IOBC-WPRS Bulletin 81: 57-67.

Perring, T.M. 1996. Vegetables, Chapter 3.2.7. In: Lindquist, E.E., Sabelis, M.W. and Bruin, J. (eds), Eriophyoid Mites – Their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam.

Sapáková, E., Hasíková, L., Hřivna, L., Stavělíková, H. and Šefrová, H. 2012. Infestation of different garlic varieties by dry bulb mite Aceria tulipae (Keifer) (Acari: Eriophyidae). Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis 60: 293-302.

Shevtchenko, V.G., Razvyazkina, G.M., De-Millo, A.P. and Amrine, J. 1966. Taxonomic separation of similar species of eriophyid mites, Aceria tulipae Keif. And A. tritici sp.n. (Acarina, eriophyoidea) – vectors of the viruses of onions and wheat. International Journal of Acarology 22: 149-160.  

Wahba, M. L., Doss, S.A. and Farrag, A.M.I. 1987. Source of re-infestation by Eriophyes tulipae K. for garlic plant with some biological aspects. Bulletin of the Society of Entomology of Egypt 65:179-182.