With the fall wheat planting season underway in Texas, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts are warning growers of a potential Hessian fly problem that could impact the future of their crop. However, the experts also offer a series of steps that can be taken to help prevent damage.
Dr. Allen Knutson, AgriLife Extension entomologist at Dallas, says, “Growers and consultants in the Uvalde area report that Hessian fly is an increasing problem in that area. Some fields there were not even harvested this past spring due to Hessian fly damage.”
While it’s a little late in the season to implement integrated pest management strategies, the experts say learning defensive steps now can improve pest management in the future.
Destroying volunteer wheat two to three weeks before planting, selecting the right wheat variety, using seed treatment insecticides, delaying planting until the arrival of cooler temperatures, and rotating crops are listed as best practices for limiting pest damage.
“If current conditions continue through the fall and winter, this could be a bad year for Hessian fly damage on what could otherwise be a promising wheat crop across West Central and South Texas,” Knutson said. “So cultural practices including destruction of volunteer wheat, burying crop residue, planting resistant varieties and insecticide seed treatments will be more important now than ever to reduce the risk of Hessian fly damage to the coming year’s wheat crop.”
Visit this page for more information on managing Hessian fly in Texas wheat.