An IPM Response to the Invasive Sugarcane Aphid on Sorghum: Developing and Integrating Thresholds, Plant Resistance, and Biocontrol Tactics (Rooney, William) Grant uri icon


  • A 2013 outbreak of the invasive sugarcane aphid (Melanaphis sacchari) damaged sorghum in TX, LA, and OK. The infestation occurred on grain sorghums as well as bioenergy and forage sorghums. Currently, the infestation intensified in the core infestation zone of the TX/LA Gulf Coast, and spread north into OK and the Mississippi Delta (MS, AR). Current and further expansion is occurring from annual aphid flights of Gulf Coast overwintering aphid progeny. Grower associations have estimated an economic impact annually of $60--140M in the current core infestation zone of TX/LA. From work sponsored by a one-yr IPM grant, improved detection and insecticide use reduced economic impact. Preliminary data justify research to shift judicious but arguably wide-area application of insecticides based on sampling (early stage IPM), to more fine-tuned thresholds integrated with plant resistance and natural enemies (advanced IPM). Objectives take an interdisciplinary IPM approach (e.g., economic threshold studies integrated with natural enemy and resistant sorghum assessment) appropriate to address invasives such as this aphid on sorghum, and promote diversity and integration of tactics leading to a more stable management system for this new pest of sorghum.The project will 1. Evaluate thresholds that guide insecticide use, 2. Determine principal natural enemies and assess abundance and impact., 3. Screen putative-resistance in the field to identify stable sources of sorghum resistant to this aphid, and4. Communicate findings to growers and industry.

date/time interval

  • 2014 - 2018