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An Upsurge of the Old World Date Mite (Oligonychus Afrasiaticus) in Date Palm Plantations: Possible Causes and Management Options

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In recent years, the date dust mite has emerged as a serious economic pest of date palm in many areas where it is cultivated. Damage loss due to mite infestation may reach 100% if management measures are not taken. This article investigates the reasons behind the upsurge of dust mite populations and the possible available options for its management in date palm groves. The old world date mite, Oligonychus afrasiaticus has become an important pest of immature date palm fruits in recent times. The dust mite attacks the developing fruits, which represent the final yield component. Such direct damage cannot be compensated unlike damage on pinnae (leaflets) or other parts of the palm tree. Infestation by the date mite commences just after fruit set, peaks during the Kimri stage when the fruits are green with high moisture content. Mite populations decline during Khalal stage when fruit color starts to change to yellow or red depending on the date palm cultivars. During the Rutab stage when fruits start to ripen, mite populations become low and continue to decline further during the Tamr or full ripen stage. The world famous date palm varieties such as Medjool, Deglet Noor, Barhi, and Khalas are highly susceptible to mite infestation and estimation of damage may range between 30%–80%.
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Keywords: DATE PALM; KIMRI STAGE; MITE INFESTATION; OLIGONYCHUS AFRASIATICUS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2019

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