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Root Maggot Fly

Root Maggot Fly Anthomyia species Family Anthomyiidae.

Root Maggot Fly

Root Maggot Fly

Sugarbeet root maggots develop through four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Eggs are white, slightly curved, and about 1⁄25-inch (1 mm) long. Larvae are white legless maggots without distinct heads. The body grows to 1⁄3-inch long, tapering to a cone at the head end. The pupa is a tan, hard-shelled capsule slightly smaller than a fullgrown larva. The eggs, larvae, and pupae all occur in the soil. Adults are medium-sized flies with two wings and a shiny, black body.

Root maggot – fly larvae make radishes and turnips “wormy” and eat so many roots of your cabbage, broccoli or other cole crops that they get stunted,yellow and may die.

Life Cycle :Sugarbeet root maggots overwinter as full-grown larvae about 10-14 inches deep in the soil. As temperatures begin to warm in the spring, the larvae move up close to the soil surface and pupate. In western Nebraska, sugarbeet root maggots pupate in April, and flies begin to emerge in early May. The flies move from last year’s sugarbeet fields to the current fields soon after emergence. The flies are not strong fliers, and generally movement is limited to localized flights to adjacent fields. Fly activity in sugarbeet fields is greatly increased under warm and calm conditions.

Root Maggot Fly

Root Maggot Fly

During cool or windy periods the flies remain in sheltered areas along field margins (e.g. weedy, grassy areas or tree rows). Peak emergence and fly activity occur in late May or early June. The females lay eggs in the upper 1/4-1/2 inch of soil at the base of the sugarbeet plants. Eggs are laid in batches of a few to as many as 40, and a female will lay over 100 during her life. Survival of eggs and early larval stages is greatly reduced in dry soil conditions. The larvae begin to feed on the sugarbeet roots and continue to feed for about three to four weeks. By late June to early July, feeding ceases, but the larvae remain in the soil around the sugarbeet roots.

Damage: Root maggots feed on the surface of the sugarbeet root causing surface scarring. Deeper scarring and malformed roots may result from heavier feeding. Heavy infestations of the sugarbeet root maggot can cause severe stand loss, particularly with small plants, because the maggots feed on and sever the tap root.

Root Maggot

Root Maggot

Severe damage is obvious because plants become severely wilted or die. If stands are not reduced, losses may still result from reduced plant vigor. Damaged plants also may be more susceptible to root diseases. Other stresses, such as hail, can severely impact beets damaged by the sugarbeet root maggot because vigorous plants are necessary for recovery.

How to Rid Root Maggots: Plant turnips at the end of June or beginning of July. When the roots grow significantly in warm weather, they are less at risk to suffer from maggot root damage.Cover turnip plants with row covers to avert root maggots during the earlier part of the growing season.Burn immediately or throw away any plants already infested by root maggots.

These plants will attract the root maggot fly, and composting the plant will continue to provide a home for maggots and flies.Release rove beetles into the turnip plants. These are a natural predator to the root maggots.Use a liquid pesticide at the start of the turnip growing season, and soak the soil. This should be a last resort, however, because it will kill not only the root maggots, but also worms and other beneficial insects.Rotate crops, and create as much space as possible from the current crop to the previous year’s crop. Make sure there are at least 650 feet between fields.

Cluster Fly Larvae

Root Maggot Fly Larvae

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