Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Sorghum midge (336)

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  • Worldwide distribution. Sorghum (grain and forage), and wild grasses (especially Johnson grass). A major fly pest.
  • Larvae eat the young seed heads.
  • Midge, mosquito-like, orange, up to 2 mm long, clear wings, long antennae, and, for females, a long thin ovipositor. Eggs laid into flowers.
  • Eggs hatch, larvae are white then orange, 2.5 mm long, spindle shaped. Pupae on the flower head. Some larvae go into resting phase, up to 5 years.
  • Spread occurs when grain is moved with larvae in resting phase.
  • Natural enemies: several parasitoid wasps, but only partially effective.
  • Cultural control: plant early; weed grasses; increase seeding rate; rotate with sugar cane or peanuts; legume intercrops; burn stubble; resistant varieties.
  • Chemical control: if  >1-2 midges/head at flowering apply synthetic pyrethroids.
Common Name

Sorghum midge

Scientific Name

Stenodiplosis sorghicola; previously, Contarinia sorghicola.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
1Information from Swaine G (1971) Agricultural Zoology in Fiji. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. London; and CABI (2015) Stenodiplosis sorghicola (sorghum midge) Crop Protection Compendium (; and from Business Queensland (2020) Sorghum midge. Queensland Government. (; and from DAF (2018) Insect pests management in sorghum. Queensland Government. ( Diagram Mississippi State University Extension. ( Photo 1 Alton N. Sparks, Jr., University of Georgia.

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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