California sorghum producers have a new pest to keep an eye out for. Identifying sugarcane aphid populations can be tricky as the damage looks similar to another familiar pest.
The sugarcane aphid has made its way into California, where it is affecting sorghum crops. Jeff Dahlberg, director of Kearney Research and Extension Center, said some growers may mistake damage in the fields as greenbug damage, but there is a difference. “I think what’s probably what’s happened in the past is when most people saw the sugary substance on the leaves, they probably just assumed it was greenbugs,” Dahlberg said. “This sugarcane aphid will produce a lot more of that. It’s like honey, really. If you take your fingers and rub it, it’s very sticky and gummy. The aphids will produce just copious amounts of that. Then you’ll need to turn the leaf over and look at these bugs.”
Dahlberg said growers can get help identifying the pest online. “I think we have a pretty good ID chart on the UCANR website. They are pretty easy to spot and very distinctive from traditional greenbugs. If you get online, you can get a picture and identify them pretty quickly, or call cooperative Extension and we’ll come look at them,” Dahlberg said.