Lime nail gall mite

During the summer months, the foliage of lime trees (Tilia) can become covered with elongate red tack-like galls on the upper side of leaves. This is due to the feeding activities of a gall mite.

Lime nail gall on Tilia
Lime nail gall on Tilia

Quick facts

Common name Lime nail gall mite
Latin name Eriophyes tiliae and E. lateannulatus
Plants affected Lime (Tilia sp)
Main symptoms Pale yellow or red pointed tubular structures up to 5-8mm long on the upper leaf surface
Caused by Microscopic gall mites
Timing May-September

What is lime nail gall mite?

Lime nail gall mites are microscopic animals (less than 0.2mm long) that feed on the foliage of lime trees (Tilia sp). The mites feed by sucking sap. They secrete chemicals into the plant tissue that causes the leaves to produce the galls. The mites then suck sap from plant cells lining the gall structure. Like most gall mite there is no harm done to the hosts overall heath and vigour and these animals are part of the biodiversity that healthy trees support. 

There are many different species of gall mite they are often specific to a single host plant and producing characteristic galls, read more about some others found in gardens. 


Between May and June, upper leaf surfaces of lime trees may develop many pale yellow or red pointed tubular structures up to 5-8mm long. Although the lime nail gall mite disfigures the foliage it has little or no effect on tree growth.


The mite has no impact on the tree’s health or growth and so should be treated as biodiversity that healthy lime trees support.


Lime nail gall mites overwinter as non-feeding females in crevices in the bark, especially near buds, or underneath bud scales. In the spring, when the host plant comes into growth, the mites begin feeding and laying eggs. Up to about 80 eggs may be produced at a rate of two to three a day. There may be two or three generations during the summer with both male and female adults being present. In late summer overwintering females are produced which will not lay eggs until the following year.

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