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Sugarcane Aphid Management

sugarcane aphids

Sugarcane Aphid Management

Sugarcane Aphids (SCA) numbers were low last year with some infestations in Kansas and Texas. We are just now seeing them show up in the Lubbock, TX area. Despite these low numbers, we all know that SCA populations can explode rapidly because they reproduce asexually. An insect can produce many offspring that can begin giving birth to new offspring within days.

For many sorghum producers in the U.S., the progression of SCA from southern overwintering areas can give them some warning as the insect moves north. For growers in South Texas and Southeastern U.S., SCA can be present at or immediately after planting and have greater risk for yield loss since early season infestations have the greatest yield reductions. For growers north of KS-OK border, infestations often appear after boot, when yield reductions are lower.

So how do we manage SCA? There are really three easy steps.

  1. Select the right hybrid – SCA tolerance in SP hybrids are the strongest in the industry and provide season long protection. Tolerant hybrids reduce aphid population growth and can prevent thresholds from building to the point where insecticide applications are needed or reduce an application in extremely heave infestations.
  2. Use insecticide seed treatments like Cruiser (Thiamethoxam) to keep early season aphids from building up if present. This is important in more southern locations where SCA might overwinter.
  3. Scout/Spray – look for honeydew on the top side of leaves, look for aphids under the leaf. Use the table below to determine the threshold for spraying foliar insecticides based on the table below (Source: Kansas State Entomology). Recommended pesticides are (Sivanto @ 4 oz/acre or Transform @ 1 oz/acre)

Sugarcane aphid