Cabbage root maggot (Delia spp.) – Reminder - Among root feeding pests of canola, historically five species of Delia flies have been identified across the Canadian prairies; Delia radicum (L.), D. floralis (Fallén), D. platura (Meigan), D. planipalpis (Stein), and D. florilega (Zett.) have been observed in canola over 30 years of research (Liu and Butts 1982, Griffiths 1986a, Broatch and Vernon 1997; Soroka and Dosdall 2011). A summary of root maggot biology, research, and pest management recommendations for canola production was published by Soroka and Dosdall (2011).
Root maggots continue to be a problematic in canola production largely owing to the fact that (i) the species is composition varies by geographic latitude and local conditions, plus (ii) one or two generations per year will occur but varies by species. The species complex is typically characterized by multiple, overlapping generations of Delia resulting in adults laying eggs in canola (Refer to upper left photo for adult and eggs) from late Spring to October and maggots feeding on roots from late rosette until late fall (Refer to upper right photo). Root maggots pupate and overwinter within cigar-shaped, reddish-brown puparia 5-20 cm below the soil surface (Soroka and Dosdall 2011) so canola-on-canola rotations should be avoided. In the spring, adults emerge from mid-May to mate and females lay oval, white eggs singly or in batches near the base of cruciferous host plants over a 5-6 week period. The larvae develop through three instar stages which feed on root hairs then secondary roots initially whereas older maggots will feed into the taproot of a canola plant.
Refer to the root maggot pages within the new "Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide" - both English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions are available.