The blue oat mite is an important pest of seedling winter cereals. When infestations are severe, the leaf tips wither and eventually the seedlings die. Eggs laid in the soil hibernate over winter, allowing populations to build up over a number of years. This can cause severe damage if crop rotation is not practised.
Adults are 1 mm long and have 8 legs. Adults and nymphs have a purplish-blue, rounded body with red legs. They move quickly when disturbed. The presence of a small red area on the back distinguishes it from the redlegged earth mite.