Our work on swede midge

Swede midge: a threat to organic Brassica crops

What is swede midge and why is it a problem?


Male adult swede midge

Swede midge is a new invasive fly that attacks Brassica crops, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kale. To date, there are no reliable organic practices to control this pest. We have received reports from organic farmers in VT and NY that they are experiencing up to 100% yield loss of broccoli and kale.

Swede midge threatens Northeastern vegetable growers and limits your options for local organic vegetables.


Loss of cabbage head

If we cannot find effective ways to manage swede midge, here are your options for local food:

  • Conventionally-grown brassica vegetables with higher pesticide levels.
  • Increased threats to bees due to insecticide use
  • Reduced offerings of locally grown vegetables
  • Higher prices for vegetables grown in the Northeast

What are WE doing?

Our lab aims to better understand the ecology, biology and behavior of swede midge in order to develop organic methods for its management.

Here is an organic management guide for swede midge, developed jointly between the IAEL, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the University of Guelph.

What can YOU do to help?

Spread the word about swede midge and support us in finding effective alternatives to insecticides for swede midge management. Please check “Other”.