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Classification and host plants
Suborder: Brachiceri (Ciclorafi section)
Species: P. betae Curt.
“Phytopathology, agricultural entomology and applied biology” – M.Ferrari, E.Marcon, A.Menta; School edagricole - RCS Libri spa
Host plants: Beetroot, Spinach.
Identification and damage
The beet fly is a small Diptera (about 5-6 mm in length) with a grayish thorax and a yellowish-gray abdomen with a darker longitudinal band.
The body is covered with short dark bristles; the head is clear and has two evident purple compound eyes.
The larvae, a few millimeters long, are greenish yellow; they lead an endophytic life in the mesophyll.
The damage occurs on the leaves and is determined by the larvae that dig tunnels (mines) in the mesophyll; in the event of a substantial attack, the leaves may undergo drying out with serious damage to the efficiency. synthetic photo.
Adult and damage caused by the beet fly (photo www.inra.fr)
The beet fly overwinters as pupa in the soil.
In spring, in April, the adults (1st generation) appear and lay on the underside of the leaves.
The newborn larvae undermine the leaf tissue, causing the damage described; when they reach maturity the larvae pupate in the ground and originate a 2nd generation.
Generation 2 adults appear in July; these adults oviposition and originate a second larval generation which can generate a 3rd generation in late summer-early autumn.
In some warm countries there may still be a generation or two.
In our climates, on average, Pegomyia betae performs 2-3 generations per year.
Beet Moscow Pupes - Pegomyia betae Curt. (photo www.inra.fr)
The fight against the beet fly is chemical and follows the criteria of the guided and integrated fight; it uses samplings, performed on real leaves, to determine the number of eggs laid and present. The intervention threshold is from 4 to 20 eggs per plant, respectively on 3-4 real leaves plants up to over 6-7 real leaves.
Treatment should be performed with endotherapeutic products.
The choice of the product must also take into consideration the possibility of using an active principle with a common activity against other phytophages, should the need for combined interventions arise.