Northern Texas battling sugarcane aphids; entomologists stumped

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Texas insect experts have noticed a rise in sugarcane aphids in the Texas High Plains area.

The aphids recently have been found in Castro, Carson, Deaf Smith, Donley, Gray, Hansford, Moore, Ochiltree, Oldham, Randall and Wheeler counties, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists Pat Porter and Ed Bynum, from the Lubbock and Amarillo A&M offices, respectively, said recently.

“It appears we need to move to a more conservative treatment threshold than the one currently in use here and elsewhere," Porter said. "We are finding that our current insecticide regimen is not working quite as well as it has in more Southern locations with higher humidity and less-intense sunlight.”

Despite the research and some guesses as to what is causing the rise in the sugarcane aphids, Porter said the cause has not been determined. It is not believed to be an insecticide-resistance issue. The recommendations have changed because of the sugarcane aphids.

“Our recommendation is to apply insecticide when 30 percent of the plants are infested, and there are localized areas of heavy honeydew and established aphid colonies," Porter said. "This threshold would trigger significantly earlier insecticide application than our earlier recommendation of 50-125 aphids per leaf.”

Porter said sugarcane aphids can quickly damage plants because they migrate and reproduce quickly.

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Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service 600 John Kimbrough Blvd College Station, TX - 77845

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