Hessian Fly Base – The web fly, Mayetiola destructor (Say), is a severe winter wheat pest in the southeastern United States.
The severity of Hessian fly infestations varies from year to year and by location.
Outbreaks of this insect have occurred periodically in the United States since its introduction in the mid-1800s.
Hessian flies are believed to have been introduced to Long Island, New York, in straw beds used by Hessian soldiers during the revolutionary war.
Burlap flies prefer to eat wheat, but can also attack triticale, barley, and rye. Burlap flies do not attack wheat or chaff.
In the years to come, entomologists predict that the risk of economic losses from Hessian flies will continue.
Reasons for this include the adoption of crop rotation schemes that lead to planting wheat in the same field in subsequent years, the use of wheat as a cover crop, moving to earlier wheat planting dates, and an increase in acreage.
cultivated with wheat.
The emergence of the Hessian fly biotype that overcomes resistance in most wheat varieties has led to a shortage of wheat varieties resistant to the Hessian fly.
This publication discusses the biology of the Hessian fly and provides tips for managing these insects.
Description and life cycle
The Hessian fly (Figure 1) is a small mosquito-like fly about 1/8 inch long.
Adult females of Hessian flies range from reddish brown to black, while slightly smaller males are brown or black.
Many adult flies that resemble Hessian flies are found in wheat fields.
The adult web fly can sometimes be distinguished from other smaller flies of similar size by the presence of twelve to sixteen beaded segmented (moniliform) antennae, black wings, and legs as long as or longer than the body length.
Adult females live 1 to 2 days and can lay two hundred and fifty to three hundred small, elliptical, orange eggs in the grooves on the upper side of the wheat leaf (Figure 2).
Often the Hessian fly begins to lay eggs as soon as the seedlings emerge.
Eggs are deposited singly or end to end in “egg lines” between the veins on the upper surface of young leaves.