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Redlegged earth mites and spring spraying

Redlegged earth mite (Halotydeus destructor) populations build-up in spring, so it is important to be on the lookout for high numbers in crops and pastures. Control can be timed to occur during a short window of the season - during spring - when mites have ceased laying winter eggs (eggs that must hatch this season) and before they start laying diapause eggs (over-summering eggs that survive until next season). This approach can significantly reduce redlegged earth mite numbers the following autumn.

The optimum ‘spring-spray’ dates for redlegged earth mites in eastern Australia are mostly between mid-September and mid-October. Exact dates are available through the Timerite® website or by phoning the Australian Wool Innovation helpline on 1800 070 099. The use of Timerite® should be considered in paddocks where redlegged earth mites are a continual problem.

The date for spring spraying is unique to each property and remains constant from year to year. It is recommended that spraying be carried out within the two-week period before the optimal date. Some examples of the recommended dates are: Horsham - Sep 23; Bendigo - Sep 28; Wagga Wagga - Sep 29; Dubbo - Oct 14; and Albury - Oct 15.

Correct identification of mites before deciding to spray is important. Timerite® is designed to only control redlegged earth mites; it will not effectively control other pests, such as blue oat mites. Before using this approach, consideration should also be given to the actual number of mites present and the susceptibility of the crop to be sown next season. Click here for images of redlegged earth mites and refer to PestFacts Issue No. 2 for further information.


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