During daylight, winter grain mites can be found around the base of plants or hiding just under the soil surface. They thrive in cool, moist weather and retreat deeper into the soil under hot, dry conditions. Fields with loose, sandy, or loamy soils are more at risk than those with hard, clay soils. Significant infestations are ordinarily confined to central Kansas.
Control may be necessary if large portions of a field show symptoms and plant growth is retarded by dry conditions. Because fall populations develop from eggs laid the previous spring, problems are worse in continuous wheat.
Because options for this pest are so limited, producers might want to consider other insecticides labeled on wheat for controlling this pest under Kansas, see regulations. Dimethoate (Dimate and others, formerly Cygon) at 0.25 to 0.375 lb. a.i./acre; Chlorpyrifos (numerous products) at 1 pint/acre; and Lambda-cyhalothrin (numerous products) at 0.015 to 0.025 a.i./acre appear to be effective against this pest under limited testing.
Note: Because this particular mite does not appear on these product labels, the user assumes responsibility for the application and must abide by all restrictions and application requirements for other wheat pests.
Crop rotation is preventive to some degree, but field borders may be affected when mites migrate from wild grasses.
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