WHEAT GROWERS can now monitor levels of orange wheat blossom midge with a new trap.

The new traps, launched by spray company Certis, contain a sex pheromone to lure the midges and sticky inserts to trap them.

The traps were developed with funding from the Home-Grown Cereals Authority and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and are available from the beginning of May.

Previously the only way to assess risk was by assessing the weather and checking crops at ear emergence.

“Larvae hibernate in the soil, with the number pupating to produce adult midges depending on soil temperature and wetness in May and June,” said Certis technical officer Alan Horgan.

Adult females lay eggs on wheat ears during the ear emergence period and the larvae can reduce grain size by 30-50%, according to the HGCA.

Mr Horgan advises growers to use the traps between the end of May and until the latest nearby crop reaches flowering (GS61), with 10 midges trapped in a night suggesting a risk.

Supplies of the new trap are limited and Certis is requesting feedback from users.