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NC State Extension


Wheat Insect Pest Management

Wheat is the largest acreage small grain crop in North Carolina, planted mainly as soft red winter wheat. The most important known yield-limiting insect pests of wheat in the state are the cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus L.), Hessian fly (Mayetiola destructor Say), and aphids (Aphididae), which transmit barley yellow dwarf virus. Management strategies and tactics for these pests are shifting with changing agronomic practices and their effectiveness is mixed. For example, volunteer wheat is important in maintaining Hessian fly populations throughout the year. Elimination of volunteer wheat can reduce population abundance below economically damaging levels (Zeiss 1989, Zeiss et al. 1993). When North Carolina soybeans fields (without a gene conferring herbicide resistance) are planted into no-till wheat stubble, this effective tactic is eliminated as a management tactic.

Wheat Insect Pests

HF larvae

Hessian Fly Maggots

HF pupae

Hessian Fly Pupae

damage clb

Cereal leaf beetle damage

Cereal Leaf Beetle adult

Cereal Leaf Beetle adult

Zeiss, M.L. 1989. Elements of the ecology of Hessian fly, Mayetiola destructor Say, affecting its cultural management in double-cropped wheat in the Piedmont. M.S. thesis. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

Zeiss, M.L., R.L. Brandenburg, and J.W. Van Duyn. 1993. Effect of disk harrowing on subsequent emergence of Hessian fly (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) adults from wheat stubble. J. Entomol. Sci. 28: 8-15.