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Look out for other invertebrate pests

Armyworms can be problematic to grasses and crops at this time of year. They sometimes feed on the remaining green material just below the maturing head of cereals, causing heads to fall. Ripening barley crops are generally worst affected. The first visible sign of armyworm caterpillars is often their green to straw-coloured droppings, about the size of a match head, found on the ground between the cereal rows.  Damage to weeds, especially their preference for ryegrass, is also a sign of their presence. Armyworms may be confused with loppers, budworm larvae, cabbage moth larvae and cutworms. Armyworm caterpillars are fat and smooth, and may be distinguished by the three parallel white stripes on the collar just behind their head.

Bryobia mites are most active in warm conditions in autumn, spring and summer. At this time of year, bryobia mite populations can build up very quickly. They attack clovers, lucerne, lupins and canola. The feeding damage is characterised by a long trail of whitish-grey spots on the upper side of cotyledons and leaves. In the field, they are often mistaken for redlegged earth mites. Bryobia mites, often called clover mites, can be distinguished by their long forelegs which are 1.5 times the body length.

Wheat Curl Mites and Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus (WSMV) had a significant economic impact on the wheat industry in much of the high rainfall zone of NSW last season. WSMV symptoms appear as green streaks on the leaves which later develop into yellow stripes running parallel to the leaf veins. WSMV is spread by a tiny (0.3 mm) cigar shaped mite, the wheat curl mite (WCM), which is not visible without the aid of high powered magnification. A recent national survey conducted by cesar has identified numerous alternate non-wheat host plants for the WCM which allows survival between seasons. Control of weeds and grasses within and nearby wheat crops could curtail the spread and build up of WCM over summer months.

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