Sugarcane aphid numbers are increasing rapidly in the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley and appear to be moving into corn as well, according to several Texas AgriLife Research and Extension reports.

Charles Allen, Texas AgriLife Extension Statewide IPM coordinator, San Angelo, in an email this week to Southwest Farm Press said a combination of factors including recent rainfall that may have forestalled some aphid population decline, aphids infesting grain sorghum heads and aphids moving into and reproducing in corn fields “affects control options.”

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Allen also noted that although sorghum growers in the High Plains may be concerned, so far no one has seen the pest west of Interstate 35. “Currently its known distribution on sorghum is the Lower Rio Grande Valley, the Coastal Bend, the Texas Blacklands to the Red River and into southern Oklahoma, through Louisiana to eastern Mississippi.”



Also, a recent report from Texas AgriLife media specialist Rod Santa Ana, Weslaco, warns that South Texas grain sorghum producers should be on the lookout for the new insect pest, which, if left unchecked can “wipe out their entire crop.”

Santa Ana referred to recent reports from Raul Villanueva, an AgriLife Extension entomologist, and Danielle Sekula-Ortiz, an AgriLife Extension integrated pest management agent, which indicate “explosive populations of sugarcane aphids at levels never seen here before.”