Blackcurrant big bud mite

The vigour and cropping potential of blackcurrants can be reduced by heavy infestations of big bud mite.

Blackcurrant big bud

Quick facts

Common name Blackcurrant big bud mite
Scientific name Cecidophyopsis ribis
Plants affected Blackcurrant
Main symptoms Enlarged rounded buds in winter that fail to develop in spring
Most active January-May

What is blackcurrant big bud mite?

The mites are microscopic, much less than 1mm in length. They live inside the dormant buds and suck sap from the embryonic leaves. They cause infested buds to become abnormally swollen and rounded. The mite also spreads reversion disease

Symptoms

  • Damage is most easily seen in late winter, when infested buds become abnormally swollen and rounded
  • Healthy buds are pointed and longer than broad
  • Infested buds often dry up, producing no leaves in spring, or stunted foliage and few or no flowers

Control

Non chemical control

  • Dispose of heavily infested plants after the fruit has been picked and replant in autumn with clean new stock
  • Purchase certified stock plants, as these will have been inspected on the nursery and certified as being free of big bud mite and reversion
  • One mite-resistant cultivar, ‘Ben Hope’, is available
  • The affected buds of lightly infested plants can be picked off during the winter and disposed of away from blackcurrant plants
  • Infested plants can continue to crop well for several years

Chemical control

No pesticides are available to home gardeners for the control of blackcurrant big bud mite.

Biology

  • An infested bud can contain hundreds of mites, which feed by sucking sap from the embryonic leaves
  • The mites emerge in early summer and crawl over the plant in search of new buds to infest
  • They can be blown by the wind onto other blackcurrant plants
  • The mite can also transmit a virus-like mycoplasma disease known as reversion. This debilitates plants, resulting in reduced yields of fruit

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