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Wheat Insects

All Wheat Insects Content

aerial view of South Dakota farm and surrounding land


During the growing season, SDSU Extension provides weekly production recommendations.

wheat field


The SDSU Extension team provides unbiased, research-based information to help wheat growers make decisions to improve yields and profits.

Several brownish gray moths with light markings present on their wings.

Army Cutworms Returning to South Dakota

A black light trap at the SDSU West River Research Farm near Sturgis has started capturing army cutworm moths. This indicates that the moths that migrated west this spring are returning to the South Dakota plains to lay eggs.

Green volunteer wheat plants.

Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus Management Before Planting

Wheat streak mosaic virus is one of the important diseases in winter wheat and can lead to severe yield losses. Learn how it can be effectively mitigated by using proactive management in your fields.

Dark green and tan curled caterpillars with an orange stripe along their sides.

True Armyworm Caterpillars Observed in South Dakota Wheat

Wheat harvest is underway in South Dakota, and one of our seemingly annual pests has been observed in wheat fields. While scouting last week, we observed small populations of true armyworms in wheat in Northeastern South Dakota.

A reddish black fly with beaded antennae resting on a plant.

Hessian Fly: Preventing Outbreaks in Wheat

Hessian flies (Mayetiola destructor) are tiny, gnat-like flies. Their larvae are considered serious pests of wheat and occasional pests of barley and rye.

A wheat stem sawfly with long antennae, smoky wings, and black and yellow coloration. The white bar indicates a scale of 2mm.

Wheat Stem Sawfly: An Overview

In recent years, the northwestern and north central regions of South Dakota have struggled with the presence of sawfly populations in wheat fields. Learn some tips for identifying and managing them in wheat.

Dark colored caterpillar feeding on wheat head.

True Armyworm Caterpillars Spotted in South Dakota

While scouting this week we observed some very small true armyworm caterpillars. Every year these caterpillars pose a threat to wheat fields, and the best way to stay ahead of them is to start scouting before defoliation is done.

A pasture containing a mixture of grasses and alfalfa.

Grasshopper Activity Is Ramping Up

We have already observed increased grasshopper activity in many areas of the state and, depending on the 2022 season, they may become problematic in crops.

A metallic blue-green tiger beetle feeding on a light green caterpillar.

Tiger Beetles: Beneficial Predators and Ecosystem Health Indicators

Tiger beetles are generalist predators, meaning they prey on a wide variety of pests. Observing them in a landscape is a great sign that an ecosystem is healthy and supporting a diversity of both prey and predators.