Click here for fall 2011 audio updates on the bermudagrass stem borer in Georgia. (Look for the "Info on Bermudagrass Stem Borer" link under Hot Topics.)

The fly has been found in Mexico and is suspected in California and New Jersey, Hudson said.

It's a mystery how this Asian native suddenly emerged in the southeastern U.S. The U.S. doesn't import much live grass from other countries.

Dines on the tips
"The adult fly lays eggs, and the maggot bores down the stalk of grass. When it completes its development, it pupates and emerges as a fly," Hudson said.

The fly only destroys the top two leaves of a plant.

"A badly infested pasture or hayfield, if you look at it, looks like a frost came along and just nipped the tips, just the very tips. The green underneath is fine," he said.

Bermudagrass seems to be the most damaged by the fly, particularly the finer textured and most widely planted bermudagrass varieties Coastal and Alicia.

Mowing or cattle grazing are effective ways to control the fly.

Farmers in the Southeast, particularly the Deep South, are asked to contact their area Extension agent if they suspect damage from the fly this year. Researchers want to get a handle on how big an impact this tiny fly could have.


—From Southern Farmer magazine (Click here to read the full article.)