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Red-legged earth mites (Halotydeus destructor and Penthaleus major) are active only during the winter months. The eggs hatch after the first autumn rains and, under favourable conditions, they pass through a succession of generations and build up to large populations. With the advent of warm weather during October the mites die off and damage ceases.
The mites favour lucerne, subterranean clover and other clovers, peas, lettuce, young cereal crops, especially oats, and will also attack linseed, rape, turnips, silver beet, beetroot, calendulas, chrysanthemums, snap-dragons, stocks and other ornamentals, Capeweed, shepherd's purse, variegated thistle, prickly lettuce, nettle weed and Paterson's curse.