Not all turf miticides act the same and their effectiveness varies dramatically.
As turf grass mites have very short life cycles of 10-14 days it means that damaging populations can rapidly develop under the right conditions. For more detailed information on the turf mite life cycle.
Aceria cynodoniensis (Eriophyid mites) are tiny mites about 0.2mm in length which have two pairs of legs and damage is seen as “Witches’ Broom” rosetting in turf.
What turf miticides are on the market?
Abamectin (Thumper® and Agador®) is the most widely used turf miticide. It is based on a naturally occurring microorganism called, Streptomyces avermitiliis. It is both a contact and translaminar miticide. Once it penetrates the leaf, it forms a chemical reservoir that cannot be washed off and provides up to 28 days of control. Mites are quickly paralyzed with it taking three to four days for it to kick in. Consequently, even though mites may be visible they cannot feed and so die.
Other turf miticide options.
A recent introduction is Indigo Malice Duo® which combines the knockdown of abamectin with clofentazine. This is effective against adults and eggs and so stops populations bouncing back after treatment.
Bifenthrin is a pyrethroid-based contact miticide and as its a contact miticide, it needs good turf coverage when applied with it providing 7 to 21 days of control.
Clofentazine (Quali-Pro Prophesy®) contains the contact miticide clofentazine. Thorough coverage of all plant parts is critical. It works on both mite eggs and the immature stages but not adults. It is best used early in the season before mite populations increase should be used with an organosilicone wetting agent. Clofentazine is slow-acting but provides up to 45 days of control.
Diafenthiuron (Waldo®, and Higran®) gives up to 4 weeks control and has a strong contact and translaminar effect. It also a rapid paralyses mites so they stop feeding and is best used as an early curative miticide to treat nymphs and adults. Ideally it should follow an initial knockdown of abamectin which will give 3-4 weeks of control. It is dangerous to bees.
Etoxazole (Finesse®) is a growth regulator for mites and inhibits the molting process. Like abamectin, etoxazole works as both a contact and translaminar miticide giving up to 28 days of control. It is active on the egg, larvae, and nymphal stages but has little effect on adult mites. However, adult female mites that are treated do not produce viable eggs.