Definition of Hessian fly in US English:

Hessian fly


  • A gall midge whose larvae are a pest of cereal crops, occurring in wheat-growing areas.

    Mayetiola destructor, family Cecidomyiidae

    • ‘Resistance in wheat to the Hessian fly, a major insect pest of wheat, is based on a gene-for-gene interaction.’
    • ‘The Hessian fly spread from Long Island in 1777, and a more widespread impact began to be felt in 1778.’
    • ‘It is resistant to stem rust, leaf rust and soilborne wheat mosaic virus, moderately resistant to wheat streak mosaic virus and susceptible to Hessian fly.’
    • ‘Plant breeders are constantly engaged in a vicious cycle, developing wheats that resist the Hessian fly… for a time.’
    • ‘Earlier seedings are more subject to root and crown rot and many other diseases and insects, for example wheat streak mosaic and Hessian fly.’


Late 18th century: so named because it was supposed (erroneously) to have been carried to America by Hessian troops during the War of Independence.


Hessian fly

/ˈheSHən flī/