Bermudagrass stem maggot
A new exotic invasive fly known as the bermudagrass stem maggot (BSM) was discovered in Georgia in 2010 damaging bermudagrass pasture and hay fields. This was the first record of this species in North America. Preliminary greenhouse and field studies demonstrated the potential for economic damage to Georgia turf and forage producers. Field studies by entomologists at the UGA Tifton Campus provided data to support these fears, with yield losses in excess of 50 percent for susceptible varieties in late summer harvests. Cultivar preference trials demonstrated distinct preferences for some forage types over others, but also showed that the fly can and will attack all widely used bermudagrass varieties. Valuable information about the biology and life cycle of the fly was also gathered. These results allowed the scientists to produce recommendations for control of the fly in late season that showed promise for reducing damage if applied in a timely manner. Current treatment recommendations can reduce yield losses to less than 5 percent, but only insecticides in the pyrethroid class of chemistry have shown consistent efficacy. The search for additional control products continues, as reliance on a single insecticide class not sustainable in most agricultural situations.