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Will 2009 be a soybean aphid year?

After high numbers of soybean aphids last year, Iowa agriculturalists are beginning to ask the question, "Will 2009 also be an aphid outbreak year?"

Iowa State University entomologists working in soybeans have not seen enough aphid eggs on buckthorn to be alarmed. Remember, however, that aphid numbers will vary greatly from area to area and field to field.

The variability in aphid numbers will not only depend on the overwintering success of aphids, but also reproduction on buckthorn in the spring, planting dates, the variety of soybeans planted, environmental conditions including temperature and rainfall, and the numbers of natural enemies.

Because there are good scouting techniques, accurate treatment thresholds, and effective therapeutic chemical treatments -- the best management strategy for the soybean aphid is to scout soybean fields and only treat those that would benefit from an insecticide.

Treating soybean fields prophylactically, many of which may not have economic aphid populations, will worsen the conditions. The unnecessary insecticide treatments will kill natural enemies and the exposure to the aphids may promote insecticide resistance. Be patient. Scout. And stop increasing aphid densities in those fields where economic populations are reached.

After high numbers of soybean aphids last year, Iowa agriculturalists are beginning to ask the question, "Will 2009 also be an aphid outbreak year?"

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