Wheat Streak Mosaic

Causal Agent: Wheat streak mosaic virus, which is transmitted to wheat via the wheat curl mite, Eriophyes tulipae.
Hosts: Wheat
Symptoms: Leaves of plants infected with wheat streak mosaic virus generally appear light to medium green with yellow streaks, which usually are longer than the streaks on leaves of plants infected with wheat spindle streak mosaic virus. Varying degrees of yellowing (chlorosis) and tissue death (necrosis) are associated with wheat streak mosaic. Additionally, symptoms of wheat streak mosaic begin to appear in late April and May as temperature increase rather than in March as with wheat spindle streak mosaic.
Control: Wheat streak mosaic is difficult to control because there are no varieties highly resistant to the virus or to the small, cigar-shaped wheat curl mites. This leaves cultural controls, which include, (1) controlling volunteer wheat for at least two weeks prior to planting in the fall, and (2) planting late. Wheat curl mites have a life span of about two weeks, so controlling volunteer in and surrounding a wheat field for at least two weeks will greatly reduce the number of mites that can infect the seedling wheat in the fall. Planting wheat late reduces the length of time mites have to infest wheat and transmit wheat streak mosaic virus in the fall, which results in the most severe yield reductions.
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