The sugarcane aphid continues its northern march through Southwest grain sorghum fields, putting the crop at risk of severe damage if growers fail to make timely insecticide applications.

Damage may include lost production as well as harvest problems from the sticky honey dew secreted by the pests. The secretion sticks to leaves and grain, clogging combines and creating problems at elevators. The honeydew also may provide an ideal growth medium for mold.

Last week the sugarcane aphid, or white aphid, was identified in San Saba and Coleman counties in Texas, marking the first time the insect has been found west of Interstate-35, says Charles Allen, Texas AgriLife extension statewide integrated pest management coordinator.

More recently, Tom Royer, Oklahoma State University Extension entomologist, identified the pest, along with the more common yellow sugarcane aphid, in Oklahoma grain sorghum.

He warns sorghum producers to be watchful for both pests.

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