sustainability through science & innovation

Redlegged earth mites

Redlegged earth mites (Halotydeus destructor) remain active in several regions of Victoria. Researcher, John Roberts (cesar), has found high numbers of mites around Lake Bolac and Mortlake in the Western district, as well as near Shepparton and Elmore in the Northern Country district. Redlegged earth mites have also been observed in parts of the South West Slopes and Southern Tablelands districts of New South Wales. In the last few years there have been relatively few mites found this late in the season in some areas. The additional rainfall and milder temperatures experienced during spring appear to have facilitated mite survival this season.

Chemical control of redlegged earth mites can be timed to occur during spring before mites start laying diapause eggs (over-summering eggs that survive until next season). This approach, known as Timerite®, can significantly reduce mite numbers the following autumn. For most regions however, this ‘spray-date’ has passed and chemical sprays applied over the next few weeks are likely to be ineffective at reducing mite populations in 2011. Spraying for redlegged earth mites at this time of the year is therefore questionable, particularly in mature crops and pastures where mite feeding will generally not cause significant damage.

Click here for images of redlegged earth mites and refer to PestFacts Issue No. 9 for further information.

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