Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Sadras, Victor
item Fereres, Alberto
item Ratcliffe, Roger

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/25/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Wheat is a major grain crop world-wide. Insect pests of wheat are prevalent throughout wheat-growing regions of the world and their feeding injury and transmission of plant diseases results in serious losses in grain yield and quality. Wheat scientists need to be aware of changes that occur within the plant as a result of stress related to insect feeding or from abiotic factors such as temperature and moisture, in order to develop improved pest control based on biological and cultural methods. This is particularly important for control of major wheat pests such as aphids, Hessian fly, blossom midges, and sawflies. This paper provides an up-to-date review of research conducted to determine the affect of 1) insect attack on wheat physiology in the absence of other biotic or abiotic stresses, and 2) insect attack in conjunction with stresses such as drought and temperatures extremes, and in conjunction with various management practices including fertilization, planting dates, tillage operations, etc. The reviewed information will be valuable to scientists developing biological and cultural control methods that utilize plant resistance and manipulation of management practices to suppress pest populations.

Technical Abstract: The review takes a plant-centered perspective to 1) describe the growth, yield, and quality responses of wheat to damage caused by insect pests, 2) analyze the plant and population-level mechanisms of resistance to herbivory, and 3) illustrate the interactions between herbivores and other biotic and abiotic stresses. Emphasis is placed on aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae), sawflies (Hymenoptera: Cephidae), and Hessian fly and blossom midges (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) which are the most serious pests of wheat world-wide. Leaf beetles (Oulema spp), Lepidoptera stemborers, bulb fly (Delia coarctata), and soil-dwelling insects (Euxoa spp., Agrotis spp.) are considered in less detail. With the exception of blossom midges, wheat pests generally feed on vegetative growth (roots, stems, leaves). However, injury to vegetative growth often alters wheat development in ways that reduce both vegetative and reproductive potential of plants and affect subsequent yield and quality of grain. The physiological changes associated with feeding injury and various abiotic stresses are discussed. Management practices that utilize biological and cultural control methods to suppress insect pests are reviewed and discussed in terms of applicability and success.

Last Modified: 05/27/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page