Sugarcane Aphids

— Written By and last updated by

Gary Cross
Area Crops Agent
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
Granville/Person County

Sugarcane Aphids

A new pest is coming to North Carolina, if not already here, called the Sugarcane Aphid. Infestations of the aphid appeared, first in Hawaii, but has come to the North and South American continents. There are many different types of aphids, corn leaf aphids, green bug aphids, and cherry aphids. The Sugarcane aphid is a bright, straw colored insect that lives on the underside of the leaf. The Sugarcane Aphid creates a tremendous amount of honey dew on the leaf, much more than most aphids. Injury is manifested as reddening or purpling leaf tissue. The problem is made worse by dry conditions. If you don’t get the Sugarcane aphid early, they can kill plants, reduce stands, and cause serious yield loss. Management of the Sugarcane aphid comes from timing and selecting the right foliar insecticide. Seed treatments have shown excellent activity against sugarcane aphids. The biggest concern is if the sugarcane aphid overwinter this far North? The answer to this question is up for grabs considering the sugarcane aphid needs a very warm climate to over winter. The best issue is to get out and scout the sorghum crop.