Wheat midge update in North Dakota
In most of the remaining counties, 42 percent of the samples had 201 to 500 larvae per square meter (low risk) and 33 percent had 200 or fewer larvae per square meter. Although these areas with 201 to 500 midge larvae per square meter are considered low risk, it is good insurance to scout fields to determine if an action threshold population level exists.
Wheat midge larvae feed on the kernel and negatively affect yield, grade and quality. Early planting and selecting an early maturing variety of hard red spring wheat is one of the best preventive strategies to mitigate wheat midge damage. Early planting (prior to 200 midge growing degree days using a base of 40°F) can reduce midge damage because the wheat will flower before peak midge emergence. Wheat is most susceptible from heading to 80 percent of the primary heads with anthers. Planting between 200 and 600 midge degree days is the high-risk window for planting wheat because wheat midge will be emerging during heading. According to NDSU Extension Service agents and USDA NASS, most of the 2012 wheat crop was planted during this high risk period. Late-planted wheat (after 600 midge degree days) will miss the peak emergence of wheat midge but runs the risk of lower yields, frost damage or even greater losses due to barley yellow dwarf virus, which is a virus transmitted by cereal aphids.
click image to zoom To aid in scouting and risk evaluation, a degree-day model has been developed to predict the emergence of adult wheat midge and is available on the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network at http://ndawn.ndsu.nodak.edu/wheat-midgedd-form.html. Select the nearest NDAWN weather station and enter your planting date to get a table that lists accumulated midge degree days and indicates whether your wheat is in the susceptible stage (heading) when wheat midge is emerging. Observations indicate the following degree day accumulations for events in the wheat midge population (base temperature 40°F):
The map (below) indicates that wheat midge adults are starting to emerge in areas with higher risks based on larval soil samples.
click image to zoom SCOUTING should be conducted at night when temperatures are greater than 59 degrees and winds are calm (less than 6 miles per hour) during the heading to early flowering crop stages. With the higher prices for hard red spring wheat, we recommend using the ECONOMIC THRESHOLD for durum when the adult midge density reaches one midge per seven to eight heads. The critical spray timing is from late heading to early flowering. Most insecticides labeled for wheat midge control can be tank-mixed with a fungicide if scab is a potential problem.