Rain brings orange wheat blossom midge threat

Significant rain in the past week could mean orange wheat blossom midge emergence coincides with susceptible stages of wheat crops, according to ADAS entomologist Steve Ellis.

The pest’s development is controlled by temperature and soil moisture, he explains. Before last week’s rain, development was looking slow as soil temperatures had not reached the critical 13C threshold until 5-12 May, and then only in Berkshire, Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey, and soils were dry, which can inhibit midge development.

At that point it was looking like development would be later than in 2008 and not coincide with susceptible early flower stages of wheat, but the recent rain means there is still potential for there to be a problem, he says.

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