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A new resource for managing crop-damaging greenbugs

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Greenbugs (Schizaphis graminum) have been a major vexation for growers of wheat and sorghum for more than half a century, especially in the Great Plains. Now a new paper in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management provides an overview of these little aphid and a summary of control methods.

"This was a good opportunity to summarize the literature, and just keep things up to date on this pest," said lead author Tom Royer of Oklahoma State University.

Control of greenbugs remains a challenge, but growers can take steps to keep the insects in check. One method is to plant wheat a little later in the year to avoid early greenbug colonization, but the best approach is to monitor the wheat fields to determine when pesticides make sense, according to Royer. To do that, Dr. Royer advocates the use of Oklahoma State's Glance n' Go system, which he helped to develop over the past decade. The Glance n' Go system typically requires no more than 15 minutes of surveying plants for greenbugs that are either alive or "mummified." Mummified greenbugs signify the presence of their natural enemy, a parasitoid wasp known as Lysiphlebus testaceipes. Growers upload information on their location, time of year, current price of wheat, and control costs into the Glance n' Go system's website, which analyzes the data and calculates a treatment threshold. They can then print a scouting form and take it into the field to determine which areas need to be sprayed.

"That means producers treat only those fields that need it," Royer said.

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The full article, "Greenbug (Hemiptera: Aphididae) Biology, Ecology and Management in Wheat and Sorghum," is available for free at: http://jipm.oxfordjournals.org/lookup/doi/10.1093/jipm/pmv018

The Journal of Integrated Pest Management is published by the Entomological Society of America, the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has nearly 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists. For more information, visit http://www.entsoc.org.

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