Controlled environment experiments were conducted to establish some of the requirements for successful mass rearing of Halotydeus destructor (redlegged earth mite). Numbers of mites reared on Vicia sativa (common vetch) cv. Blanchefleur grown alone or on a mixture of vetch with Trifolium subterraneum (subterranean clover) cv. Goulburn, were significantly higher than those on subterranean clover or Arctotheca calendula (capeweed) alone. Populations reared on vetch grown in a sandy soil were significantly higher than those reared on vetch grown in a loamy soil, pure sand or pure loam. Covering the soil surface with a natural pasture mulch increased mite numbers compared with leaving the soil bare or placing plant pots inside ventilated cages. Subsequent changes in rearing methodology produced enough mites to enable summer screening of subterranean clover lines for resistance to H. destructor for the first time. Over 20000 mites can be produced from vetch at one time for screening tests throughout the year.