As grain sorghum harvest picks up in South Texas and the Coastal Bend, Texas AgriLife researchers, pest management specialists and county agents are reporting increased sugarcane aphid (SCA) activity in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

"I have received several calls that sugarcane aphid populations are growing again in grain sorghum fields that have not been harvested," reported Dr. Raul Villanueva, assistant professor and Extension entomologist, Texas AgriLife Extension -Texas A&M University South District 12. "They can be found in all green areas of leaves and are moving into the panicles but not causing damages yet."

Villanueva and Integrated Pest Management specialist Danielle Sekula-Ortiz began inspecting fields across the Valley early this week and report heavy populations of aphids even in fields being harvested.

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"We noticed the sugarcane aphids are feeding on any green parts of the plants they can find and we saw many aphids on combines, but there has not been enough honeydew to cause problems to the combines yet," she said.

Last year Upper Coastal Bend and Louisiana producers experienced gumming problems in their combines associated with harvesting plants with heavy deposits of honeydew caused by heavy sugarcane aphid populations.