From Deep South Texas up the Gulf Coast to Florida, U.S. sorghum producers are facing a serious challenge from a new sugarcane aphid. The new pest is not to be confused with the typical yellow sugarcane aphid but is much smaller and slightly translucent with a slight hint of yellow coloring.
In South Texas and other stretches along the Texas coast, populations of this new sugarcane aphid exploded near the end of the 2013 growing season, causing serious harvest problems because of its sticky honeydew.
Surviving the winter months by feeding on Johnson grass, the aphid has resurfaced in 2014 and is causing intense problems, especially in Deep South Texas and in the Texas Coastal Bend. The aphid has also been reported across Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Georgia and as far north as Oklahoma. Entomologists say the new sugarcane aphid could migrate as far north this year as Kansas.
In early June, Texas AgriLife entomologist Dr. Mike Brewer warned sorghum producers in the Texas Coastal Bend, one of the richest grain sorghum producing areas in the nation, about the new threat.
To read more about sugarcane aphids, see Sorghum University paper