Olive Tree Pests – Learn About Bud Mites On Olive Trees

(Image credit: casafacilefelice)

Olive tree pests can be a real problem, especially if you’re counting on your tree to produce lots of fruit. The olive bud mite is one of these problems, though it’s not as big a problem as you might think. Keep reading to learn more about mites on olive trees and olive bud mite treatment.

What are Olive Bud Mites?

What are olive bud mites? They’re little creatures that measure about 0.1-0.2 millimeters long – too small to see with the naked eye. Under a microscope, you can see that they’re yellow, teardrop shaped, and four legged. They live and feed exclusively on olive trees. Since you can’t see them, the best way to tell if you have olive bud mites is to look for the damage caused by them. This can appear in the form of prematurely dropped flowers or buds, discolored buds, stunted growth, or spotty leaves that curl under. In very young olive trees, a bad infestation can seriously stunt the plant’s growth.

Olive Bud Mite Treatment

So how do you go about controlling olive tree mites? In most cases, you don’t. Even a large infestation isn’t likely to hurt the tree or affect olive harvest too much. The only reason to take action is if your harvest has been below average for several years running. If this is the case, you can apply powdered or wettable sulfur. (Don’t apply the wettable variety on days hotter than 90 F./32 C.). You can also try non-chemical approaches, such as introducing ladybugs, a natural predator. If you live in Australia, there are some predatory mites that feed on them but, unfortunately, they’re not native anywhere else in the world.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.