Post date: Oct 13, 2014 1:27:31 PM
It’s not like we don’t have enough insects to deal with but this year we have added a new one and its a bad one. There are several aphid species that attack sorghum including corn leaf aphid, greenbug, yellow sugarcane aphid and now sugarcane aphid. Aphids are a unique insect. They feed but inserting their stylet into phloem cells that transport plant nutrients. They suck the plant juices through their bodies and excrete excess which causes the honeydew (sticky mess on the leaves) that gets on leaves and windshields under trees. Aphids are also unique in that the female reproduces asexually in the summer giving birth to live young every few days. This means that populations can increase exponentially as you can see in the picture. For some reason the sugarcane aphid seems very adept at reproducing as you can see in the picture. The other problem with this aphid is that the typical chemical controls like imidacloprid don’t work well at all. This past year a TDA Section 18 was granted for Transformer from Dow because it was about the only product that worked. In some cases sorghum growers had to spray 3 times and still had problems. There is a little hope in this desperate situation. This aphid doesn’t survive well in cold weather and so experts believe it will die back to the Valley/Winter Garden area each year. This means it will have to migrate to this area each spring but as we saw this year it won’t take long!