Rust Fly – Loxocera cylindrica

Rust Fly – Loxocera cylindrica
Order Diptera / Family Psilidae

Live adult rust flies photographed at Bridgeton, Missouri.

Rust Fly - Loxocera cylindrica

The Rust Flies consist of 34 North American species, primarily in savanna habitats. Species of Loxocera have a long slender flagellomere exceeding the length of their face. Species of Psila are generally dark-bodied with pointy heads and abdomens. Larvae are root or stem borers or occur under bark.

Certain conditions favor rust fly infestations. In commercial plantings many of these conditions can be avoided. Such conditions include:

A previous history of rust fly infestations.
Consecutive annual plantings of carrots.
Soils with high organic matter content.
Abundant carrot rust fly weed hosts in area.
Fields surrounded by brush and woods.
Fields adjacent to homes and other buildings.

Although avoiding such practices will help, no "magic" cures exist. By the very nature of home garden plantings and the way they are managed, most of these conditions would be impossible to avoid. Thus home gardens are normally vulnerable to rust fly build-up.

Rust Fly and plant rust

Rust fly and its eponymous "rust" resulting from the fly's puncture of the plant's cell wall

  1. University of California, DANR, "Biological Control Agents for Aphids in Vegetable Crops"
Flies of North America – Order Diptera. Flies are prevalent in virtually all habitats, with over 16,000 species in North America. Flies can be distinguished from all other insects in that they only have one pair of normal wings. Most flies have compound eyes and mouthparts adapted for piercing, lapping or sucking fluids.
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