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Until confirmation last week, entomologists were not certain how to classify the 'new' aphid. But a definitive identification was reached last week by Dr. Scott Armstrong, USDA-ARS Entomologist from Stillwater, Okla.
A similar aphid explosion occurred two weeks ago in Deep South Texas where fields went from manageable numbers to thousands per plant, some in just a two-day period.
Texas AgriLife Extension Integrated Pest Management specialist Danielle Sekula-Ortiz reports nearly 200 South Texas growers crowded into a special meeting about the threat in late May. Many of those attending were entomologists from Tamaulipas State just across the border in Mexico.
"They have been suffering from enormous sugarcane aphid populations over there as well and are expressing a willingness to work with us on this side of the border in hopes of getting control of the outbreak," she reported last month.
In her June 6, 2014, IPM newsletter, Sekula-Ortiz says after widespread treatment of sorghum fields over the last three weeks, population numbers of aphids "have been drastically reduced," an indication that recommended treatment strategies are working – at least for the interim.
"A panel of five of us from Texas A&M Extension collectively agree the best treatment method at the present time is a Dow AgroSciences product, Transform, which was approved for use in Texas grain sorghum in late April by USDA as part of a Section 18 emergency action," Brewer told producers last week.
He said good success has also been reported using Dimetholate, but says field trials indicate Transform provides a longer lasting residual control.
Travis Hirst and Charlcey Vineyard of Dow AgroSciences attended last week's meeting in Corpus Christi. During a visit to test plots at the research center following Brewer's presentation, they fielded questions from local producers.