While scouting a wheat field in Marion County today, Justin Ballew and I found a few of these guys. We wanted to take the opportunity to talk about how to control this small but damaging insect known as the aphid. Aphid populations can increase almost exponentially by giving birth to live young, nearly all of which are female and capable of reproduction without mating. After less than a week, these young can also give birth! In South Carolina, reproduction in many generations can occur throughout the winter. The pictures above are of a common aphid called the Greenbug aphid. The Greenbug aphids are the first aphids to colonize seedling wheat in South Carolina, and are often recognized by their feeding injury on seedling and tillering wheat. Greenbugs are not believed to cause much economic injury to wheat in our state. However, the Bird Cherry- Oat Aphid (BCOA) and the English Grain Aphid (EGA) can cause a great deal of damage. The BCOA and the EGA both transmit the pre-dominant strain of barley yellow dwarf virus found in South Carolina. The English Grain Aphid is the last aphid to colonize wheat in South Carolina and can cause direct feeding injury to the the flag leaf and head. See Pictures below.
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