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Soybean aphids – 2009

July 17, 2009
From Wayne Schoper, Brown/Nicollet Extension Educator

Soybean aphids have been around for a few years now. We have learned a lot about them since then. The first year that we really saw high infestation levels was 2003. They were very devastating and caused much potential soybean yield loss that year. Without proper control, soybean aphids can destroy up to 40 percent of a farmer's soybean crop. Over the last couple of years we have developed better scouting techniques to determine the best time to spray. However we have still had to take control methods in several years since then. We have developed strategies to control aphids utilizing research that continues this summer. Some of this research focuses on using less insecticide than we have in the past years. Part of this research is taking a look at an insect that is no bigger than a comma. This insect, Binodoxys communis is a natural predator of the soybean aphid and could play a major role in protecting the soybean crop while limiting the use of chemical control. They are parasitic insect that insert an egg into the aphid. The egg hatches into a larva that kills the aphid, feeds on it and emerges as an adult from what becomes a mummified aphid shell. The big question at this time is whether or not the tiny Asian insect can survive our harsh Minnesota winters.



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