Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Brookings, South Dakota » Integrated Cropping Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #343071

Research Project: Productive Cropping Systems Based on Ecological Principles of Pest Management

Location: Integrated Cropping Systems Research

Title: Selected early-season pests of wheat in the United States and factors affecting their risks of infestation

Author
item Hesler, Louis
item Sappington, Thomas
item Luttrell, Randall
item Allen, Clint
item Papiernik, Sharon

Submitted to: Journal of Integrated Pest Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/2/2017
Publication Date: 6/15/2018
Citation: Hesler, L.S., Sappington, T.W., Luttrell, R.G., Allen, K.C., Papiernik, S.K. 2018. Selected early-season pests of wheat in the United States and factors affecting their risks of infestation. Journal of Integrated Pest Management. 9(1), 17. https://doi.org/10.1093/jipm/pmx023.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jipm/pmx023

Interpretive Summary: The Hessian fly, cereal aphids, and wireworms are common and important insect pests of seedling wheat in the United States. Though less common as pests, grasshoppers and false wireworms may also be problematic in some areas. In addition, cereal aphids vector viruses that cause barley yellow dwarf (BYD), which is a serious and widespread wheat disease. Scientific journal publications, review articles, and management guidebooks on wheat insect pests were consulted to determine the risk that these pests pose to wheat production in the United States. Widespread outbreaks occur infrequently, but local outbreaks happen nearly every year for the three major pests and cause several millions of dollars in crop losses annually. Hessian fly perennially threatens wheat in the southeastern United States, and wireworms are persistent pests in northwestern wheat-growing regions. Otherwise, the particular location and severity of outbreaks vary yearly and are largely unpredictable. However, particular agronomic practices can greatly reduce risk of infestation, such as elimination of volunteer wheat and weedy hosts, and planting wheat during periods of lower pest abundance. In addition, resistant cultivars can limit Hessian fly and Russian wheat aphid damage in some areas, but resistance-breaking strains of each pest complicate their management. Although several preemptive tactics reliably suppress insect infestations and BYD severity, they are not compatible in all agricultural systems. Consequently, insecticides are necessary in certain areas and within particular production systems to manage major early-season insect pests of wheat.

Technical Abstract: The Hessian fly, Mayetiola destructor (Say) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae); cereal aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae); and wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae) are three common and important insect pests of seedling wheat in the United States. Though less common as pests, false wireworms (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) may also be problematic in situations that favor wireworms. In addition, cereal aphids vector viruses that cause barley yellow dwarf (BYD), which is a serious and widespread wheat disease. Scientific journal publications, review articles, and management guidebooks on wheat insect pests were consulted to determine the extent and intensity that these pests impose on wheat production in the United States. Widespread outbreaks occur infrequently, but local outbreaks happen nearly every year for the three major pests and cause several millions of dollars in crop losses annually. Hessian fly perennially threatens wheat in the southeastern United States, and wireworms are persistent pests in northwestern wheat-production systems. Otherwise, the particular location and severity of outbreaks vary yearly and are largely unpredictable. However, particular agronomic practices can greatly reduce risk of infestation such as elimination of volunteer wheat and weedy hosts, and planting wheat during periods of reduced pest abundance. In addition, resistant cultivars can limit Hessian fly and Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia [Mordvilko]) damage in some areas, but virulent biotypes of each pest complicate their management. Although several preemptive tactics reliably suppress infestations and BYD severity, they are not compatible in all agricultural systems. Consequently, insecticides are necessary in certain areas and within particular production systems to manage major early-season insect pests of wheat.