Meeting to address sugarcane aphid infestations in South Texas grain sorghum

WESLACO  –  The Sugarcane Aphid Informative Meeting and Field Day will be held from 9-10 a.m. May 20 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco, 2415 East U.S. Highway 83.

Dr. Raul Villanueva, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist, examines a grain sorghum field for sugarcane aphids. A meeting to discuss infestations of the pest will be held May 20 at Weslaco. (AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana)

Dr. Raul Villanueva, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist, examines a grain sorghum field for sugarcane aphids. A meeting to discuss infestations of the pest will be held May 20 at Weslaco. (AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana)

The meeting is free and open to the public. One Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education unit will be offered to licensed pesticide applicators.

Scientists at the center said the meeting will address the recent explosion in populations of sugarcane aphids in the area’s grain sorghum crop.

“It’s important that growers get up to speed on this invasive pest because it can overwhelm a field and cause serious crop losses,” said Danielle Sekula-Ortiz, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management agentat the center.

Dr. Raul Villanueva, an AgriLife Extension entomologist at the center, said the one hour meeting will be divided into two sections.

“The first half hour will be in our auditorium to discuss the biology of the sugarcane aphid, how to identify it and how it can cause crop losses and how to apply an emergency use insecticide,” he said. “The second half hour will be spent in a nearby infested field to further help growers identify this pest.”

For more information, contact Sekula-Ortiz or Villanueva at 956-878-8317.

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