Sugarcane aphids expand in Arkansas

Sugarcane aphids expanding rapidly. Jumped from three counties to 12. Aphids can leave sticky mess that hampers harvest.

Sugarcane aphids are rapidly expanding in Arkansas, quadrupling the number of counties in which they’ve been confirmed just two weeks earlier.

Back on June 20, sugarcane aphids were confirmed in three counties, all in southeastern Arkansas: Desha, Ashley and Chicot.

“We now have the aphids confirmed in 12 counties,” said Nick Seiter, Arkansas Extension entomologist.

The aphids have been reported as far north as Crittenden and White counties and as far west as Logan County in the Arkansas River Valley. The full list: Arkansas, Ashley, Chicot, Crittenden, Desha, Lee, Lincoln, Logan, Lonoke, Phillips, St. Francis and White counties.

“In most cases we are seeing isolated spots, especially along the edges of fields, with high numbers, with the rest of the plants having few to no aphids,” he said. “There are lots of natural enemies feeding on the aphids, especially lady beetles.”

At the moment, the aphids aren’t at levels high enough in most spots, to prompt insecticide applications, but Seiter said treatments for sugarcane aphids are being applied in some fields.

Aphids exude honeydew that can grow black mold that inhibits photosynthesis on the leaves and the stickiness of the honeydew can gum up harvesting equipment.

For more information about managing sugarcane aphids, contact your county Extension office or visit www.uaex.edu or http://arkansascrops.com.

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