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Hessian Fly
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Hessian Fly

Order: Diptera

Family: Cecidomyiidae

Pest Status: Hessian flies are important pests of cereal crops. Their management has dictated cropping practices such as the "fly-free date" for wheat throughout much of the country.

Appearance: Hessian fly adults are small, delicate, dark, long-legged, two-winged insects that somewhat resemble mosquitoes. Females are slightly larger than males (1/8-inch long) and their bodies have a red tint. Males are smaller and have two pairs of abdominal claspers.

Life Cycle: Adults emerge in mid-fall to mate and lay eggs. The larvae are present through late-fall and feed on juices that they extract from the base of nearby plants. They overwinter in the pupal stage and adults emerge in the spring.

Where to Collect: Hessian flies can be found in crop fields, particularly wheat, barley, and rye.