The most common pest mites in crop and pasture systems are earth mites, recognisable by their black body and red legs. The red legged earth mite (RLEM) has a terminal anus, and the blue oat mite (BOM) an anus on its back (dorsal), which is visible as a red-white area.
While RLEM produces diapause eggs in spring in its third generation (although there is evidence that a few diapause eggs are also produced earlier), the BOM species produce diapause eggs throughout winter and spring.
Both mites attack wheat, barley, oats, triticale, lucerne and canola.
Blue oat mite adults and nymphs pierce and suck on leaves of seedlings. Where there is a heavy infestation the leaf tip withers and the seedling can die.
The feeding of red legged earth mite adults and nymphs results in a silver or white discolouration of leaves and distortion of the leaf shape. Affected seedlings can die and seedlings can be killed before emergence.
Treat the seed with a recommended seed treatment (Guardian)