Infection by the wheat dwarf virus causes severe symptoms including stunted plant growth, bush-like aspect and reduced number of leaves and tillers. The leaves feature strings of chlorosis that can engulf the whole leaf later. Fewer spikes develop and the existing ones may be sterile or stunted. The virus is transmitted by the leafhopper vector Psammotettix alienus, which is sucking phloem sap from the vegetative parts of wheat with its mouthparts, thereby transmitting the virus.
The symptoms are triggered by a virus that is transmitted in a non-persistent manner by the leafhopper vector Psammotettix alienus. However, feeding of virus-free hoppers does not transmit the disease. The hopper has to suck for several minutes on the plant until the virus is transmitted. P. alienus completes 2-3 generations per year, infecting winter wheat in autumn and summer wheat in spring. The leafhoppers overwinter as eggs and the first generation of nymphs appears in May. The virus is not transmitted to the eggs or the nymphs of the insect. The wheat dwarf virus also infects many other cereals such as barley, oat and rye.
No biological control measures are known for this virus. If you know of any, please contact us. We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures together with biological treatments if available. Insecticides are only recommended if critical numbers of vector insects are found. Treatment of the seeds with imidachloprid is efficient for the control of the vector. Wheat plants can be treated with pyrethroid or other insecticides to avoid the transmission of the virus.