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Extension Entomology

Wheat Aphids

–by Jeff Whitworth and Holly Davis

We are getting calls relative to wheat aphids in many fields throughout south central and north central Kansas.  So far they are mainly bird cherry-oat aphids but a few greenbugs as well.  This is normal for this time of year.  These aphids migrate in, or are blown in, all spring on southern winds.  However, at this time of year/ this stage of wheat development, there is little to worry about relative to aphid feeding.  Also, the weather has been conducive to wheat growth so any aphid population buildup should not significantly impact the wheat.  Any viruses aphids may vector should not impact the wheat at this developmental stage enough to significantly reduce yields.  Aphid populations now will provide a food source and thus help many beneficial insect populations establish for later season aphid invasions.

It is not a good practice to mix a little insecticide in with a fungicide treatment “just in case”, as this is deadly to beneficial insects, i.e. lady beetles, lacewings, etc.  that will provide help later in the growing season on other crops.  Yes, it does save on the cost of an insecticide application but will probably do much more harm than good at this time of year.  For more information on wheat insect management, please refer to the KSU Wheat Insect Management Guide: https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/mf745.pdf

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