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Look out for other 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 cereal rows. Armyworm caterpillars are fat and smooth, and can be distinguished by 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 (also known as ‘clover mites’) can be distinguished by their long forelegs which are 1.5 times the body length.

Sitona weevils attack annual medics and lucerne. Adults are 3-5 mm long, varying from grey to dark grey-brown with three pale stripes on the thorax (between the head and wing covers). Larvae are small, white, legless grubs up to 5 mm long, living in the soil near plant roots. Feeding by adults causes a characteristic ‘scalloping’ on the edges of leaves; in heavy infestations the leaves can be completely skeletonised. Larvae live in the soil and feed on root nodules and hairs.

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