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Agricultural entomology: Cauliflower fly, Delia radicum L.

Agricultural entomology: Cauliflower fly, Delia radicum L.


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Classification and host plants

Class: Insects
Order: Diptera
Suborder: Brachiceri (Ciclorafi section)
Family: Antomides
Genre: Delia
Species: D. radicum L.

Bibliographic reference:
Phytopathology, agricultural entomology and applied biology” – M.Ferrari, E.Marcon, A.Menta; School edagricole - RCS Libri spa

Host plants: Cauliflower, Rapanello, Turnip and other Crucifers, Legumes.

Identification and damage

The Delia radicum is a small Diptera (about 5-6 mm in length) which has a gray livery with longitudinal bands on the chest and abdomen, darker.
The adult feeds on nectar.
The larva, about 8 mm long, is white in color and ends at the rear with a series of protrusions arranged in a ring.
The damage occurs on the roots, the collar and, sometimes, in the petioles of the leaves and is determined by the trophic activity of the larvae; these feed by penetrating the collar and digging tunnels in the roots and leaf stalks.
The affected tissues are subject to rotting, the foliage turns yellow and the development of the plant is stunted; in case of heavy infestations the whole plant succumbs.

Cauliflower fly - Delia radicum L. (photo www.rapsbeizung.de)

Biological cycle

Cauliflower fly overwinters as pupa in the ground.
In spring, towards April, adults flicker; these mate and the females lay close to the collar of the plants.
After about two weeks the larvae are born; these immediately attack the plants, penetrate them and live inside them until maturity.
In the second half of May, 2nd flight adults may appear, originating second generation larvae; followed by a 3rd generation and sometimes a 4th generation depending on the environmental conditions.
Therefore, Delia radicum makes 3-4 generations per year.

Cauliflower fly larva - Delia radicum L. (photo Jarmo Holopainen www.pbase.com)

Fight

The fight against cauliflower fly is chemical and agronomic.
The agronomic struggle essentially consists in the destruction of the residues of the vegetation, after the harvest, and in the control of the spontaneous Crucifers near the crops.
Chemical control is carried out in two ways:

  • Geodisinfestations with granular products based on Phosphorganics;
  • Spraying carried out at the base of the plants, after overcoming the transplant crisis, with specific insecticides.


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