Brown Wheat Mite

Pest: Brown wheat mite (Petrobia latens)

Pest Type: Insect Pest, mites


Major Identifying Features: Mites look like tiny, moving dots that can be easily observed with a 10x hand lens, females are larger than males and less than 1/20 inch, mites live in colonies on the undersurfaces of leaves, a colony can contain hundreds of single mites, some mites produce webbing (spider mites, webspinning mites), adults have 8 legs, oval bodies with two eyes on the end, new larvae only have 6 legs, eggs are spherical and translucent, brown wheat mites are dark brown, have four pairs of light brown to yellow legs, and are the size of a period on newsprint, the front pair of legs are twice as long as the back pair

Life Cycle: Reproduce rapidly in hot weather, one generation can be completed in less than a week

Pest Rating: Minor to moderate

Management Rating: Easy to moderate

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Outbreak is almost all year in certain areas of California, they feed and reproduce on green plants throughout the winter, mites can overwinter, they lay eggs and feed in warm weather in spring, water stressed plants are susceptible hosts, brown wheat mites are more active during dry periods

Damage Information: Mites suck cell contents from leaves, a high population can damage herbaceous plants, leaves show stippling or bronze color, leaves can turn yellow to red and drop prematurely, damage might impact next year’s crop, infested wheat plants appear scorched or bronzed

Management Options: Biological control: Mites have many natural enemies which limit their numbers including western predatory mites Galendromus occidentalis, Phytoseiulus, sixspotted thrips, spider mite destroyer lady beetle, minute pirate bugsbigeyed bugslacewing larvae, western flower thrips, cultural control by applying water to pathways and other dusty areas, proper irrigation, midseason washing of trees and vines with water, insecticidal soap, chemical control with insecticides can make the problem worse



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