Wheat, Triticum L. (Poaceae), varieties with deterrence to oviposition by the wheat midge, Sitodiplosis mosellana (Géhin) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), can be useful in reducing seed damage. The behaviour of ovipositing females on spring wheat, T. aestivum L., with and without oviposition deterrence was investigated to account for observed differences in oviposition on deterrent and nondeterrent hosts. On deterrent wheat, 34% of females landing oviposited compared with 100% of females landing on nondeterrent wheat. The sequence of female behaviours just prior to egg-laying on deterrent spikes was similar to that on nondeterrent spikes. The length of time required to lay an egg and mean egg-batch size were similar on deterrent and nondeterrent wheat, but females spent nearly twice as long on the latter. After landing on deterrent wheat, females took longer to begin ovipositing and longer to leave after the last oviposition event than did females on nondeterrent wheat, which further reduced the time available for oviposition on deterrent compared with nondeterrent wheat. As a result of these behavioural differences, deterrence reduced oviposition by more than 60%.