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Wheat stem sawfly spreads in Nebraska

Wheat stem sawfly spreads in Nebraska

By Scout Nelson

The wheat stem sawfly has recently shown signs of increased activity across the High Plains. Experts at the High Plains Ag Lab near Sidney, Nebraska, suggest that adult sawfly flights are reaching their peak this week. Although the pressure from sawflies is high, it is reportedly less severe than the previous year.

Residents and farmers have observed the wheat stem sawfly in various wheat fallow fields, indicating that these pests can survive in wheat residue from past harvests, particularly during their pupal stage from mid-July through May.

Historical surveys from 2011 to 2017 highlighted the presence of the wheat stem sawfly primarily within Nebraska's Panhandle. Recent observations by Samantha Daniel, a Nebraska Extension Educator, confirmed the sawfly's presence in Perkins County as of May 23, 2024. Reports from Keith County suggest a broader spread to southwest and west-central Nebraska.

Anyone who suspects the presence of wheat stem sawfly in unreported areas is encouraged to contact Pin-Chu Lai at 308-632-1369 to aid in tracking and managing this pest.

For wheat growers facing possible crop losses from sawfly infestations, immediate action is recommended. Contacting your crop insurance agent to report probable losses is advised. From a management perspective, identifying and timely harvesting of heavily infested fields is crucial.

Growers should also consider examining their wheat fields as they ripen. By splitting wheat tillers and looking for the characteristic “sawdust” or frass left by the sawflies, farmers can gauge the extent of infestation.

Recording these observations can provide valuable insights for future pest management strategies, including fallow management and crop variety selection for the upcoming planting seasons.

Photo Credit -gettyimages-ygrek

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Categories: Nebraska, Crops, Wheat

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