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Kansas State University

Three major measures for Hessian fly control


  1. Resistant Wheat Cultivars. The most effective and cost efficient way to control this pest is to develop and deploy resistance cultivars. Unfortunately, there are not many wheat cultivars that carry Hessian fly resistance genes. State agricultural extension service centers can provide the names of wheat varieties resistant to the particular races of the Hessian fly. In the Great Plain region, a few wheat cultivars that are resistant to Hessian fly include Duster, Camelot, Thunder CL, NE01643, Infinity CL, Hallam, Goodstreak, and Harry. Thirty-three resistance genes have been identified and many of them have been incorporated into wheat varieties. In the Great Plain region, H13, H21, H26, and Hdic are the four genes that still confer high levels of resistance to current Hessian fly field populations (Chen et al. 2009, Journal of Economic Entomology 102: 774-780)

  2. Late Planting. Plant wheat late to avoid fall infestation by Hessian fly. This strategy is based on the belief that Hessian fly will not emerge after a certain date, so called fly-free date, because of cold temperature. The effectiveness of this strategy, however, is in question. First, delayed planting may reduce yield potential due to less time available for vegetative growth. Second, the existence of a fly-free date is in question because of warmer climate.

  3. Pesticide Treatment. Treatment of wheat seeds with systemic pesticides before planting can protect young seedlings from Hessian fly infestation by killing larval insects. However, the effective period is short, lasting for two to three weeks after planting. In some states, systemic pesticides are still applied to control Hessian fly during late stages of wheat fields. The effectiveness of pesticide application depends on accurate prediction of Hessian fly larval hatching.