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AWI funded CSIRO's development of Timerite® to predict the best date for spraying in spring to control redlegged earth mites (RLEM) the following autumn on any particular property.

RLEM is an introduced pasture and crop pest in southern Australia. RLEM are estimated to infest 20 million hectares of pasture, causing $200 million damage to the wool industry alone.

The first step to managing RLEM is to check if pastures are infested. Once RLEM are identified, it is important to understand the risk level for RLEM damage next autumn before spraying.

If RLEM are present in spring, spraying on that paddock's Timerite® date is the safest way to minimise the damage to pastures next autumn.

When should I use the Timerite® spring spray?

It is very effective in controlling mites to prevent damaging populations emerging at the break of season the following autumn.  Only spray if you need to. Overuse of spraying can lead to insecticide resistance.  

Spray if:

  • You can see RLEM on plants or evidence of feeding damage in spring
  • You are planning to reseed a clover pasture; or plant a mite susceptible crop next year such as canola

Other current factors that may increase the current risk of RLEM damage next spring:

  • Tall pasture (shut up for seed, for hay or undergrazed)
  • Abundance of broad leaved weeds (like capeweed)
  • Susceptible pasture or crop plants will be present next autumn
  • If there is good soil moisture at the time of the Timerite spray; which will probably mean an extended spring growing season and more oversummering mite eggs.


Further Information

Timerite® - calculate your optimal Timerite spray date for effective control of redlegged earth mite (RLEM).

Additional Documentation

Timerite Information Package

Seasonal occurrence and abundance of redlegged earth mite Halotydeus destructor (Acari: Penthaleidae) in annual pastures of southwestern Australia. Ridsdill-Smith, T.J. and Annells, A.J. (1997). Bulletin of Entomological Research 87: 413-423.

Predicting the onset of summer diapause in the redlegged earth mite, Halotydeus destructor (Acari: Penthaleidae) in Australia. Ridsdill-Smith, T.J., Pavri, C., De Boer, B. and Kriticos, D. (2005). Journal of Insect Physiology 51: 717-726.

Review of strategies for control of the redlegged earth mite in Australia. Ridsdill-Smith, T.J., Hoffmann, A., Mangano, P., Gower, J., Pavri, C., Umina, P. (2008). Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 48, 1506-1513.

Controlling redlegged earth mite, Halotydeus destructor (Penthaleidae: Acari) with a spring spray in legume pastures. Ridsdill-Smith, T.J. and Pavri, C. (2015). Crop and Pasture Science 66, 938-946. (CP14272).

For further inquiries or more information, contact the AWI Helpline on 1800 070 099. People experienced in providing Timerite® information to farmers staff this helpline.