Hessian fly

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Hessian fly,

European gall gnatgnat,
common name for any one of a number of small, fragile-looking two-winged flies of the suborder Nematocera, order Diptera, which includes the families Tipulidae (crane flies), Bibionidae (hairflies), Ceratopogonidae (biting midges), Chironomidae (true midges), Cecidomyidae
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, Phytophaga destructor, so named because it was first observed in America shortly after the Hessian troops landed on Long Island in the American Revolution. It is one of the most destructive pests of wheat, barley, and rye. There are usually two generations a year but may be up to five. The adults, 1-10 in. (0.25 cm) long, live only a few days. They lay their eggs on plants, usually where the stems are covered by leaves; the larvae feed on the sap and weaken the plants so that they cannot bear grain. In its winter pupa stage the insectinsect,
invertebrate animal of the class Insecta of the phylum Arthropoda. Like other arthropods, an insect has a hard outer covering, or exoskeleton, a segmented body, and jointed legs. Adult insects typically have wings and are the only flying invertebrates.
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 looks like and is called a flaxseed. Some control is achieved by planting winter wheat late, after the adult females have laid their eggs. The Hessian fly is classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, class Insecta, order Diptera, family Cecidomyiidae.


See bulletins of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Hessian Fly


(grain midge; Mayetiola destructor), a mosquito-like insect of the family Cecidomyiidae; a dangerous pest of cereal grains. Length, 2.5-3.5 mm; color, dark gray or brown. The Hessian fly is found in Europe, Asia, and North America. In the USSR it is found in European Russia, Transcaucasia, Siberia, and Middle Asia.

The Hessian fly produces two principal generations. Insects of the first generation fly out in the spring at the time when shoots of spring wheat and barley appear. They do not feed; but they live five to six days, depositing chainlets of up to 500 eggs each on leaves. The larvae penetrate the leaf sheath and attach themselves by suction to the stems. There they pupate in pseudococoons.

In nonchernozem zones and the northern forest-steppe regions the second generation develops in autumn on windfalls and shoots of winter grains. In steppe regions some of the second generation insects fly out in the summer, depositing their eggs on wheat and barley. Because of larval diapause, the remaining second-generation insects fly out in the autumn when the winter crops are sprouting. In southern regions, when there is a very warm autumn, a third generation may develop. The Hessian fly damages mainly winter and spring (especially soft) wheat, and to a lesser degree barley and rye. The most frequent outbreaks of mass proliferation of Hessian flies occur in the steppe regions of European Russia. Sprouts that have not developed lateral shoots are usually destroyed. Those that have developed lateral shoots lose damaged stems. Plants in the reed stage bend and lie down, spiked stems frequently break, and yield is sharply reduced.

Measures of control include early deep plowing, sowing spring grains optimally early and sowing winter grains at their optimal times. Other measures are selection of resistant varieties; agricultural techniques that ensure optimal plant growth and development; and timely gathering of the harvest.


Shchegolev, V. N. Entomologiia. Moscow, 1964.


References in periodicals archive ?
PHOTO : About one-eighth-inch long, the female Hessian fly emits a sex pheromone from her ovipositor to attract males.
Ratcliffe says the eight breeding lines proved resistant to one or more of four Hessian fly biotypes in tests using seedling wheat plants.
For example, Chen's group has located 15 Hessian fly resistance genes on wheat chromosome 1A.
It also makes it much easier to combine, or pyramid, several different Hessian fly resistance genes into one cultivar.
Williams found three genes turned on by plants in response to Hessian fly bites.
Says Shukle, "We'll continue to try to stay one step ahead of the Hessian fly and use any down time to gain as complete an understanding of it as possible"--By Don Comis and Erin Peabody, ARS.
ARS has done such a good job of combating the Hessian fly pest of wheat that many people think the problem is history.
That's where historic Hessian fly research was begun in the 1920s.
In 2006, the West Lafayette area saw its first Hessian fly infestation in more than a decade.
The result: wheat that can foil the hungriest Hessian fly.
Some Hessian fly larvae, which are called virulent, are capable of ridding their bodies of lectin and surviving.