Gary Strickland, Jackson and Greer Co. Ag Extension Educator, has indicated a number of wheat fields in that area of SW OK are showing signs of Hessian fly. Most of these fields are no-till and planted with a susceptible wheat variety such as Fuller. Plant symptoms may go unnoticed until you start to see tillers dying, a good indication of an infestation. Further investigation by removing the plant and examining the stems at the base near the crown will help identify any larvae or pupae present. Dr. Tom Royer, Extension entomologist, recently wrote a nice article depicting how and what to look for: Plan to Manage Hessian Fly.
Full-grown Hessian fly larvae form rice-like puparia that are shiny and dark brown. The puparium is commonly referred to as a “flaxseed.” Photo courtesy of Dr. Jeff Edwards.
Now would be a good time to scout your fields for this pest, especially if you have fields which are planted with a non-treated susceptible wheat variety, are in a continuous wheat rotation, use no-till or minimum tillage, were planted early (September into early October), or is a conventional tilled field next or near to a no-till wheat field. If you are unsure whether your wheat variety is resistant to Hessian fly, you can use this OSU fact sheet: Wheat Variety Comparison Chart. Unfortunately, not much can be done to control this insect right now. However, we can learn from this year and make some management adjustments to control this pest next year.
For more information on Hessian fly and its management, consult fact sheet EPP-7086, Hessian Fly Management in Oklahoma Winter Wheat.