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Tomato mite (Vasates lycopersici) is probably the most damaging pest of tomatoes during the summer and autumn months and treatment for its control is necessary in all parts of the State.
The mites are very small and may occur in huge numbers feeding on the surfaces of foliage, stems and fruits. The first sign of infestation usually appears in the lower parts of the plants when the undersides of the leaves become somewhat leaden coloured and smooth and commence to curl and droop. The stem and leaf stalks also take on a smooth and bronzed or brownish appearance and finally become roughened and corky looking. The lower foliage soon becomes dried out, brown and withered, and, as infestation progresses, only the top growth remains green. In very severe infestations the blossoms are shed and fruits are stunted and the skin rusty or corky looking.