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Sugarbeet root maggot flies could come early this year

June 6, 2016

RED RIVER VALLEY: Sugarbeet root maggots overwinter as full-grown larvae and rise to the surface as temperatures get warmer. According to North Dakota State University, the recent warm temperatures in the Red River Valley have likely accelerated the emergence of sugarbeet root maggot larvae.

Experts recommend scouting for fly activity soon.

Sugarbeet root maggots pupate close to the soil surface and the adult flies migrate to nearby sugarbeet fields, reproduce and deposit clusters of eggs near the plant. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the sugarbeet roots. The full-grown larvae remain in the soil, overwintering for next season’s feed, and the cycle continues, making sugarbeet root maggots one of the most destructive pests growers face. Sugarbeet root maggots can cause:

  • Reduced plant stand and vigor
  • Surface scarring on the roots
  • Increased susceptibility to other root diseases

Cultural practices will not eliminate the problem, but can reduce the severity of the damage. Establishing a healthy, vigorous sugarbeet plant as early as possible is key to reducing sugarbeet root maggot damage. Starting strong with a seed treatment such as Cruiser® 5FS seed treatment insecticide and CruiserMaxx® Sugarbeets seed treatment insecticide/fungicide combination of separately registered products can help protect sugarbeet crops.

Understanding the sugarbeet root maggot’s life cycle and utilizing insecticides, when necessary, is critical for managing this pest and ultimately protecting yields.

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