It does not literally have the thousand legs implied by the
name, but it has a great many. Millipedes are gray or brown, formed of
many segments, and are found coiled up like a watch spring in soil or
in rotting roots or bulbs (Figure 54B, 66B).
Most millipedes are scavengers, feeding on decaying vegetable matter,
but sometimes they attack roots or bulbs in damp soil or fruit lying on
the ground-strawberries, tomatoes, etc-and may eat lettuce leaves touching the soil. They may also injure seedlings in greenhouses.
Control. Treating soil with lindane is effective but may impart a
slightly disagreeable flavor to radishes and carrots. DDT and chlordane
are also suggested for soil treatment. Mulch strawberries and tomatoes
with salt hay.
Mites are very minute animals, next of kin to ticks, cousins of spiders,
in the class Arachnida, characterized by 4 pairs of legs and no antennae,
order Acarina, with the body all one region. Many of our garden mites
are called red spiders, and they spin webs like their larger relatives. It
was not until DDT so vastly increased mite populations, largely by killing
their enemies, that we realized just how much plant debility was due to
mites. With the problem thus pointed up, chemists went to work, and
we now have far better miticides than in the old days when there were
fewer mites. Of great importance to gardeners are the two-spotted spider
mite, spruce mite, and cyclamen mite.
BOXWOOD MITE (Neotetranychus buxi).
Boxwood leaves show a light
mottling or "hen scratching" early in the season followed by general grayish or yellowing of foliage, more conspicuous when DDT has
been used to control leaf miners. Eggs winter on the leaves and hatch in
April; there are 5 or 6 generations a summer.
Control. Sulfur dust works fairly well, but spraying with Aramite is
more effective; Ovotran can also be used.
BULB MITE (Rhizoglypus echinopus).
Hyacinth, narcissus, crocus, possibly
other bulbs, can be completely rotted or produce sickly plants with
flowers lacking or misshapen. The white mites are barely visible to the
naked eye and migrate through the soil from decaying to healthy bulbs.
Control. Destroy soft, mushy bulbs. Store suspected bulbs in a tight container with 2% nicotine dust, or dip for 10 minutes in nicotine sulfate
held at 122°F.
BROAD MITE (Hemitarsonemus latus).
Often associated with cyclamen
mite and also causing distortion but giving a silvery or glassy
appearance to deformed surfaces. This mite can be fairly readily controlled by sulfur dust which has little effect on cyclamen mite.