Damage. Mites living inside the blackcurrant bud damage the meristem and induce the bud to produce many scale leaves, which gives the bud its unusual swollen appearance (see Figure 14.26). These buds either fail to open or produce distorted leaves. In addition to the mechanical damage, the mite carries the virus responsible for reversion disease (see Chapter 15), which stunts the plant and reduces fruit production.
Life cycle. Unlike red spider mite, this species, sometimes called big-bud mite, is elongated in shape and is minute (0.25 mm) in size. It spends most of the year living inside the buds of blackcurrants and, to a lesser extent, other Ribes species. Breeding takes place inside the buds from June to September, and January to April.
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