Bindweed mites distributed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture Insectary in Palisade have been established in several parts of the state for control of this noxious weed. Mite feeding causes leaf distortion, galling and stunting, thus weakening bindweed over time. Mites over-winter on bindweed rhizomes and bud on roots.
While new galls and leaf distortion can be observed on bindweed within a week to a month, infested bindweed won't die immediately. Newly infested bindweed mayshow less flowering and less stem growth but won't die for one to several years.
A few weeks after seeing new galling and leaf distortion on treated bindweed, mow it to distribute mites and stimulate new bindweed growth. When new leaves show distortion some of that bindweed can be "harvested" and spread to distribute mites on the property.
Because excessive moisture limits the establishment of mite populations, it is unlikely that mite release on bindweed in sprinkler-irrigated lawns will have much effect. Better results can be achieved on dry landscapes.
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Updated Tuesday, July 22, 2014