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Swede Midge

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Common Name: Swede midge
Scientific Name: Contarinia nasturtii
Origin: Europe and southwestern Asia


Swede midges are small, light brown flies. They begin to emerge in May, lasting until mid-June. The adult females lay about 100 eggs throughout their short lifetime of 1-4 days. Their larvae hatch after 3 days and will begin feeding on plants.


These insects are dependent on moist habitats, such as irrigated agricultural land.


Swede midge larvae can be detrimental to plant tissue, especially that of vegetable crops. As they feed, they produce a secretion that breaks down the surface of the plant and liquefies the cell contents. This results in damage to the growing tips. Plants impacted by swede midge include cruciferous vegetable crops such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and brussel sprouts. Also, canola, collard, horseradish, kale, mustard, rutabaga, turnip and radish.


Because use of insecticides is a difficult control method, the most effective management is prevention of further spreading this species.


– Formation of leaf and flower galls and a misshapen growing point
– Distorted growing tips, multiple growing tips, or no growing tips
– Young leaves may become swollen or crumpled
– Leaf petioles or stems may exhibit brown scarring

Regional Distribution


For More Information:

NYS Integrated Pest Management – Swede Midge Profile