Document Type

Insect, Pest and Disease Control - Other Subject Areas

Publication Date



The Hessian fly is a pest of winter wheat in Tennessee and other wheat-growing states. This pest caused disastrous losses in Tennessee wheat in the mid- 1980s. Later planting of wheat and the use of wheat varieties resistant to Hessian fly minimized economic losses from this pest. In the coming years, potential economic losses from Hessian fly could increase due to the lack of resistance varieties.

In 2009, very little attention was given to Hessian fly infestations. However, there are some varieties with moderate resistance to biotype L Hessian fly. None are completely resistant. Some of the better methods to reduce Hessian fly infestations are to rotate the crop out of wheat or tillage by plowing under all the stubble in the field. These seem to be the better methods at present than waiting for a new wheat variety.

This publication discusses the biology of the Hessian fly and provides suggestions for managing this insect. Historically, Hessian fly has caused the greatest problems in the southern two-thirds of Alabama. Outbreaks of this insect have occurred periodically in the United States since the mid-1800s. The Hessian fly is believed to have been introduced into Long Island, New York, in straw bedding used by Hessian soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Hessian fly prefers to feed on wheat, but may also infest triticale, barley and rye.

Publication Number

SP290-K (Rev) 1/10 10-0113

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."