Chemical control of Sugarcane Aphid
Two insecticides are labeled for use on sugarcane aphid on sorghum in Kansas this season:
4.0 – 7.0 fl oz/acre (0.052 – 0.091 lb ai/acre)
0.75 – 1.5 oz/acre (0.375 – 0.75 oz ai/acre)
Field trials show good efficacy of the above materials against the sugarcane aphid. Both have the ability to penetrate leaves through translaminar movement and kill aphids feeding on the undersides.
Maximum efficacy will be achieved by application in a large volume of water, preferably 20 gallons per acre or GPA (minimum 10 GPA) by ground or 5 GPA from the air. Laboratory trials indicate that Transform (sulfoxaflor) is relatively safe for important aphid predators such as lady beetles and lacewings and thus can be considered IPM-compatible. This is true to a lesser extent for Sivanto (flupyradifurone), but various trials have indicated a much longer period of residual activity for this material.
Both insecticides have annual application limits and growers are advised to rotate them if follow-up applications are required. Note also that preharvest intervals will be a factor to consider when treating lateseason infestations, so applicators should read labels carefully and keep a log of all treatments for each field. Because Transform and Sivanto are absorbed by leaves and eventually metabolized by the plant, reinfestation can occur if large numbers of winged aphids continue to settle in the field.
When inspecting fields for treatment efficacy, note whether any live aphids are winged or wingless, as the former may indicate continued immigration rather than control failure. DO NOT attempt to control sugarcane aphid with contact insecticides that have broad-spectrum activity; these include all pyrethroid and organophosphate materials and combinations thereof. Replicated field trials indicate these materials are not effective, harm beneficial species, and often result in higher aphid numbers than unsprayed control plots.
Sorghum headworm infestations are often present when SCA is observed in a field, since this pest migrates using the same weather events. When choosing an insecticide to control headworms, use products that are less harmful to natural enemies such as Prevathon or Blackhawk, as these have proven compatible with Transform and Sivanto and less selective materials risk flaring the aphids.
For ongoing current information and to report on SCA in Kansas, check out the myFields web site often in the coming weeks and months: https://www.myfields.info/pests/sugarcane-aphid
Sarah Zukoff, Entomologist, Southwest Research-Extension Center firstname.lastname@example.org
J.P. Michaud, Entomologist, Agricultural Research Center-Hays email@example.com
Brian McCornack, Entomologist firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy Johnson, myFields Coordinator, Entomology Extension Associate email@example.com