Pest insects in carrot and Apiaceous crops

Use this section to find out which pest insects affect carrot and Apiaceous crops, when they are active in the year and how to manage them. 

A relatively small number of damaging pest insect species can infest carrot crops, reducing both quality and yield. This section focuses mostly on carrot crops, but the pest insects covered can also attack related Apiaceous crops such as parsnip, celeriac, and celery. 

Main carrot crop pests

The main pests of carrot are: 

  • Carrot fly (Psila rosae) 
  • Several species of aphid (Cavariella aegopodii, Cavariella pastinacae, Cavariella theobaldi, Myzus persicae) 
  • Turnip moth larvae or cutworms (Agrotis segetum) 

Additional specific pests of celery include: 

  • Celery fly (Euleia heraclei) 
  • Mirid bugs (particularly Orthops campestris) 

If unmanaged, carrot fly infestations can damage well over 50% of the crop. Viruses transmitted by aphids have also been shown to reduce yield by 50%. For more information on this, please read the report from our research project FV 445 Optimising control of willow-carrot aphid and carrot fly. 

These pests are cold-blooded organisms, so the rate at which these insects complete their life cycles is driven by the temperature of their surroundings. They develop more rapidly in warm weather. This means they will become active earlier following a warm spring and that they are usually active earlier in the south of the UK than in the north. The life cycles of these pests are very different, but there are periods when more than one species is active, so consequently, control programmes should be planned to take this into account 

Close-up photograph of adult carrot fly. Image copyright University of Warwick.

Close-up photograph of adult carrot fly. Image copyright University of Warwick. 

Adult carrot flies on a sticky trap. Image copyright University of Warwick.

Adult carrot flies on a sticky trap. Image copyright University of Warwick. 

Carrot fly

Find out about the carrot fly life cycle, the effect this pest insect can have on crops, monitoring and forecasting methods, plus ways to manage an infestation. 

More about managing carrot fly


The willow-carrot aphid, parsnip aphid and peach-potato aphid can all transmit viruses to carrot crops. Find out more about their life cycles and the damage they can cause. 

Learn about aphid infestations in carrot crops

Turnip moth

Cutworm is the caterpillar of the turnip moth. Learn about the life cycle of this pest insect, how it affects crop health and how to monitor cutworm populations. 

Read about turnip moth (cutworm)

Celery fly

Celery fly is a pest insect found in celery, parsnip and parsley crops. Find out more about the celery fly life cycle and the damage its larvae cause by burrowing through leaves.  

Find out more about celery fly

Mirid bugs (capsids)

Mirid bugs damage the shoots and stems of celery plants. Find out how to monitor mirid populations and bring down infestation levels. 

Controlling mirid bugs in crops

IPM strategy

Read about integrated pest management strategies and resistance management for pests of carrot and Apiaceous crops. 

Learn more about IPM strategies

Useful links

Download the full report: Pest insects infesting carrot and other Apiaceous crops

Visit the AHDB Pest Bulletin

Try our willow-carrot aphid migration forecasting tool

Read about virus diseases of carrots

Read the Carrot & Parsnip Crop Walkers' Guide

If you would like to order a hard copy of the Carrot & Parsnip Crop Walkers' Guide, please contact or call 0247 799 0069.

Content for this web page was originally authored by Rosemary Collier, University of Warwick.