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Balaustium mites

Agronomist, Kathryn Robertson (Landmark McNeil Saunders), has reported balaustium mites causing damage to a paddock of lucerne and oats near Murrabit, in the Northern Country of Victoria. This paddock has been sown to lucerne for several years. Kathryn says that between 1-2 mites were observed per oat seedling, although it was difficult to find mites on lucerne despite the visible feeding damage to the lucerne plants.

Balaustium mites (Balaustium spp.) have recently been identified as emerging pests within the Australian agricultural industry. The damage caused by these mites in Australia seems to have significantly increased in the last decade, with reports in WA indicating that they cause extensive damage to cereal, canola and lupin crops. Balaustium mites are often confused with other mite pests. Click here for images of balaustium mites and refer to PestFacts Issue No. 4 for further information.

At present, there are no insecticides registered for the control of balaustium mites. Further, balaustium mites are often reported to persist in the field following chemical applications aimed at other mite species. Recent trials have shown a significant difference in tolerance levels across mite species. cesar has found balaustium mites are more tolerant to a range of organophosphorus and synthetic pyrethroid chemicals compared to other mites. Kathryn reports that the affected paddock has a history of insecticide applications to control redlegged earth mites and lucerne flea.

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