Aphid Population Likely to Boom

Entomologists warn of a possible significant hike in aphid population in the Midwest this year.

Entomologists say soybean farmers will probably have a lot more aphids to deal with this summer than in recent years, with populations possibly approaching record highs in the upper Midwest.

Soybean aphids can cause considerable yield loss and can transmit soybean viruses. Researchers counting aphids in traps last fall found record numbers, and cold temperatures in the Midwest will probably do little to kill off aphid eggs this winter.

"Most soybean producers remember 2003 as a bad year for soybean aphids, but 2007 could be even worse," says Bob O'Neal, entomologist for PurdueUniversity, in a North Central Soybean Research Program newsletter. "Soybean producers will need to be very vigilant this year to minimize yield loss to the tiny little insect."

Illinois Natural History Survey Entomologist David Voegtlin told Dow Jones Newswires, "I think there are going to be people who are going to be spending the extra money to buy seed treatments" to protect their crops from aphids this year.

You can monitor aphid progress this year through Web sites such as http://www.planthealth.info/ and http://www.soybeanaphid.info/.

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