Influence of Sorghum Cultivar, Nitrogen Fertilization, and Insecticides on Infestations of the Sugarcane Aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in the Southern United States Academic Article uri icon


  • The sugarcane aphid, Melanaphis sacchari Zehntner, is an economically damaging pest of sorghum, Sorghum bicolor (L.), across the southern United States. Field experiments investigated impacts of sorghum cultivar, nitrogen fertilization, and insecticides on M. sacchari infestations and sorghum yields in Louisiana and South Carolina in 2017 and 2018. In South Carolina, M. sacchari densities in unprotected plots peaked on 30-31 July of both years before declining by early- to mid-August. In Louisiana, infestations peaked on 26 and 12 July for 2017 and 2018, respectively, and declined by mid-August. Nitrogen fertilization influenced M. sacchari densities in Louisiana in 2018 with the highest-level infestations recorded from plots that received high N rates. Densities of M. sacchari on susceptible sorghum cultivar, DKS 38-88, were 1.5- to 2.3-fold greater than on DKS 37-07 in both years in Louisiana and in 2018 in South Carolina. Nitrogen fertilization was associated with improved sorghum yields in Louisiana experiments. Sorghum yields across experiments were 2- to 4-fold greater in plots protected with multiple insecticide applications than in unprotected plots. Yield from plots with insecticides sprayed once at currently used action thresholds differed from unprotected plots only in the 2018 Louisiana experiment. Results from these experiments indicate insecticidal protection of susceptible sorghum cultivars remains critical throughout much of the southern United States. Further research is needed to develop integrated management programs that incorporate fertilization manipulation, cultivar resistance, and insecticidal control.

author list (cited authors)

  • Wilson, B. E., Reay-Jones, F., Lama, L., Mulcahy, M., Reagan, T. E., Davis, J. A., Yang, Y., & Wilson, L. T.

citation count

  • 1

publication date

  • June 2020