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Bryobia mites

Agronomist, Rob Harrod (Elders), has reported bryobia mites (Bryobia spp.) attacking canola north of Corowa, in the Riverina district of New South Wales. The damage is quite patchy; in some areas the feeding damage is severe with approximately 4-5 mites observed per plant. Rob says the affected paddock had been sprayed with both endosulfan and omethoate, however mites were still present in some parts. Consultant, Sandy Biddulph (Biddulph Rural Consulting), reports bryobia mites in canola crops near Cootamundra, in the South West Slopes of New South Wales. Agronomist, Brett McEwan (Elders), has also reported bryobia mites causing significant damage to patches of a canola crop north of Bendigo, in the Northern Country of Victoria.

Bryobia mites are important pests of clovers, canola, wheat and lupins. They are less than 1 mm long with a fawn-orange coloured body and orange legs. Bryobia mites can be distinguished by their long forelegs, which are 1.5 times their body length. Unlike most other earth mite species, bryobia mites are most active in warm conditions in autumn, spring and summer. As temperatures decrease over winter, bryobia mite numbers will decline and they are unlikely to cause significant problems.  

Recent research indicates bryobia mites are significantly more tolerant to a range of registered chemicals than many other mites, including the redlegged earth mite. Laboratory findings indicate that organophosphates may provide better control than synthetic pyrethroids, however information on the registration status, rates of application and warnings related to withholding periods should be obtained before making decisions on which pesticide to use.

Click here for images of bryobia mites and refer to PestFacts Issue No. 2 for further information.

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