Diagnosing brown wheat mite

Brown wheat mite is an uncommon sap-sucking pest of cereals that is most active in dry warm weather.

Adults are 0.6 millimetres long, red-brown with distinctly longer forelegs
Damaged leaves have a stippled appearance

What to look for

    Insect Adult

  • Adults are 0.6 millimetres (mm) long, red-brown and globular in shape.
  • Pale yellow-orange legs with the forelegs distinctly longer than the other 3 pairs.

    Insect Nymph

  • Nymphs are smaller in size and orange-red.

What else could it be

Condition Similarities Differences
Bryobia mite
Reddish legs and a pie-shaped body with the front legs longer than the rest Bryobia mite differs in body colour, ranging from dark grey to orange or olive and they prefer broadleaf plants
Diagnosing balaustium mite Red legs and dark body Balaustium mite is much larger with legs all the same size

Where did it come from?

Green bridge
Green bridge
  • Brown wheat mites usually have many generations per season and do not require cold temperatures to stimulate egg hatching. Eggs hatch when there is sufficient moisture.
  • Mite damage is common in early sown crops in years when they transfer from self sown cereals following summer rains.
  • Heavy winter rain reduces their population, but they can affect crops in spring in very dry seasons.

Management strategies

Weed and pasture control
Weed and pasture control
  • Early control of summer and autumn weeds, especially self-sown cereals will help to control populations.
  • Control may not be cost-effective in drought affected crops.
  • Apply pesticide sprays, when there is sufficient damage and when there will be a yield response.

Where to go for expert help

Page last updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2018 - 4:20pm