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Root maggot feeding can weaken or stunt the growth of plants. In the case of cabbage root maggots, infested crops such as broccoli, cabbage, radishes and turnips wilt during the heat of the day. Onion root maggots tunnel into the bulbs of onions and deform root crops, such as carrots and radishes. Tunneling also creates entry points for bacterial diseases, such as black rot.
Both of these root maggot species are small yellow-white maggots, the larvae of flies that resemble the common housefly. Flies overwintering in soil emerge in the spring to mate and lay eggs near the stems of young seedlings. The larvae burrow down into the root zone where they feed for several weeks. Onion maggots and cabbage maggots are most common in the northern half of the U.S.
Last updated: 3/6/19
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