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Bug of the Month Feb. 2020

No Valentine? No worries….if you’re an aphid

Oat-birdcherry aphid and it’s new clonal nymphs (bottom), and English grain aphid (top). Photo by Tyler Wist, AAFC-Saskatoon

By Haley Catton

February is a month for Valentines for us humans, but many insects don’t have to worry about such a thing. Aphids are one pest in crop fields that can reproduce without mating. Females actually give birth to live offspring that are clones of themselves. This quick cloning and birthing is one reason why aphid populations can build up so quickly in crop fields when conditions are right. Luckily, there are lots of beneficial insects that feed on aphids to help control their populations.  There are several species of pest aphids on the Prairies, depending on the crop.

For cereals, AAFC released an app to help producers consider aphids and beneficials when deciding it is economically worth spraying for aphids. The app, Cereal Aphid Manager, developed by Dr. Tyler Wist at AAFC-Saskatoon, is available for free in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

It will guide monitoring efforts and helps prevent unnecessary spraying when beneficials have the problem under control.