Onion Plants Die Without Insecticide Treatments

Onion Maggot Damage

Onion Maggot Damage

100,000-300,000 onion maggots overwinter on every acre of onions in northern states. The average number of eggs laid by a single female in the spring is about 50. The emerging maggots seek out the roots and bulbs of onions and tunnel into the bulb. Maggots feed for two to three weeks. Damaged plants are usually so severely injured that they wilt, dry out and soon disappear.

“Management of onion maggot Delia antiqua is an integral component of onion production in the northern United States and Canada. There are three generations of D. antiqua per year in the northern United States and infestations of first-generation D. antiqua typically cause the most serious damage because maggot feeding kills seedlings. If onion seedlings are not protected with an insecticide applied during planting, D. antiqua can reduce plant stands by one-half to near 100%.”

Authors: B. Nault, J.Z. Zhao, R. Straub, J. Nyrop and M.L. Hessney.
Affiliation:  Department of Entomology, NYSAES, Cornell University.
Title: Onion Maggot (Diptera: Anthomyiidae) Resistance to Chlorpyrifos in New York Onion Fields.
Publication: Journal of Economic Entomology. 2006. 99(4):1375-1380.