Texas LRGV Sorghum: Harvest Progressing, Beneficials Active

Photo by Danielle Sekula, Texas AgriLife Extensions

General Situation

Our days down here in the LRGV have been pretty hot averaging out at 100oF each day, heat index of 105F. Looks like we will be heading into next week on Tuesday with some pretty good chances for rain so might be a busy weekend for some trying to apply herbicides and others harvesting through Monday.

Grain Sorghum

The past two weeks I have seen a lot of grain sorghum being harvested. Those fields that still have green leaves have sugarcane aphid present but very little to none populations.

We are seeing the sugarcane aphid being controlled in populations by a lot of beneficials at work. Beneficials in sorghum such as green lacewings, pseudoschymenes larvas, ladybeetle larvas, syrphid larvas and parasitiods (tiny parasitic wasps) are taking care of the sugarcane aphid populations.

You might have come across a sorghum leaf that appeared to have ‘blue aphids’ on it, that was more than likely a black or blue-black mummy that was parasitized after the parasitic Aphelinus wasp feeds, inserts an egg, then the larva will feed, then develop and the Aphenlinus leaves.

You will not be able to pick up on the parasitic wasp Aphelinus so easy as it is very tiny and I myself have only found him about 3 times this year but I have seen his feeding he does by the blue aphids he leaves behind. Just thought you all would like a closer look of what I’ve been seeing out in the field and documenting.

Syrphid larva feeding on SCA

Sugarcane Aphids parasitized by Aphilinus as you can see they are blue, and you can see two that are not yet.

Sugarcane aphid that has turned blue and has exit hole from Aphilinus feeding and leaving (Center aphid in pic)

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