Have you seen deformed growth at the tips of your Lantana branches this summer? If so, your plant may be infested with a mite called the Lantana Flower Gall Mite.
This microscopic mite breeds inside the developing flower buds, stunting vegetative growth and preventing flowering and seed production. The distorted growth appears as a “witches broom” at the location of the tips of the branches where the flowers usually appear. This mite is destructive to ornamental plantings of Lantana in the landscape and affects the seed availability for birds.
However, in areas where Lantana has become a noxious weed in Agriculture such as South Africa and Australia, the Lantana Flower Gall Mite has been introduced as a biocontrol to prevent the spread of the invasive Lantana to Agricultural fields.
Control of this mite in home landscapes includes pruning and bagging clippings to remove galls and spraying as new growth emerges with Malathion or Acephate, following label directions.
For more information on this insect, click HERE.