sustainability through science & innovation

Redlegged earth mites and blue oat mites

Farmer, Damien Barri, has reported redlegged earth mites (Halotydeus destructor) attacking a pasture paddock near Heathcote, in the North Central district of Victoria. The mites were present in very high numbers and had completely wiped out the clover within the paddock. Damien says the paddock has a history of earth mite problems and has now been sprayed according to the Timerite® model.

Timerite® provides optimum ‘spring-spray’ dates for redlegged earth mites, based on the geographical location of a property. This aims to control mites when they have ceased laying winter eggs (eggs that must hatch this season) but before they start laying diapause eggs (over-summering eggs that survive until next season), and can significantly reduce earth mite numbers the following autumn.

Agronomist, Kate McCormick (John Stuchbery and associates), reports finding very high numbers of blue oat mites in a wheat crop near Nhill, in the Wimmera district of Victoria. Farmer, David Cook, also reported blue oat mites attacking a wheat crop near Shepparton, in the Northern Country district of Victoria. In both cases the mites have caused silvering to some plant leaves, however spraying is not necessary as the crops are at a stage where they are unlikely to suffer any yield loss as a result of mite feeding.

Blue oat mites are often mistaken for redlegged earth mites due to their similar appearance and sympatric life cycle. However, blue oat mites and the redlegged earth mite differ markedly in their biology and tolerance to pesticides, and require separate management strategies. For example, Timerite® will not effectively control blue oat mites.

Click for images of redlegged earth mites and blue oat mites.

PestFacts is supported by