Good News (Kudzu Bug), Bad News (White Sugarcane Aphid)

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These are a couple of new pests we need to be on the lookout for. Let’s start with the good news.

KudzuBug-adult good croppedKudzu Bugs in Soybean: It appears that this soybean pest is largely a ‘no show’ for most of west Tennessee. I’ve been checking kudzu where kudzu bugs were found last year, but I am having a hard time finding even one kudzu bug. Based on these observations and other reports from parts of the Southeast, it appears the hard winter has knock populations back. I’m sure it is around in low numbers, but it appears that few fields will require treatment in 2014. These comments only apply to west Tennessee. There has definitely been enough survival in areas with well established populations to pose a potential threat to soybean. Click on the link below if you need a refresher on the kudzu bug –


Photo courtesy of David Kerns (LSU AgCenter)
Photo courtesy of David Kerns (LSU AgCenter)

White Sugarcane Aphids in Sorghum: A new player on the block is the white sugarcane aphid in sorghum. This pest has been causing significant problems in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. White sugarcane aphids have NOT been confirmed in Tennessee but is creeping northward. There are a couple of must read articles linked below, but my main concern is that we be alert for this insect.

White Sugarcane Aphid: A Potentially Devastating Pest of Grain Sorghum (Angus Catchot, MSU Extension). This article goes into the background, damage potential and identification.

Treating White Sugarcane Aphid: Decision Aid (Angus Catchot, MSU Extension). This article details some best management recommendations, but fair warning, this aphid is difficult to control with insecticides. The states mentioned above have recieved a section 18 for the use of Transform 50WG. We can NOT use Transform in Tennessee, so treatment options will be limited if this pest shows its face in our state.


Please contact me with suspected infestations of either kudzu bug in soybean or white sugarcane aphids in sorghum.




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