Aphids will ride the wind to Queens­land

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE | FENCE POST -

WHAT’S that? It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s... a Rus­sian Wheat Aphid rid­ing the breeze to a ce­real crop near you.

The aphid was de­tected on the Liver­pool Plans in north­ern New South Wales in late-2018 and re­search en­to­mol­o­gist Maarten van Helden from the South Aus­tralian Re­search and De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute pre­dicts it will be found in Queens­land’s win­ter ce­real crops within the next few sea­sons.

Mr van Helden warned grow­ers to be alert but not alarmed.

“While (the aphid) is a high pri­or­ity pest, it is man­age­able and the best thing grow­ers and ad­vis­ers can do is reg­u­larly mon­i­tor crops for signs of the pest.

Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries se­nior en­to­mol­o­gist Hugh Brier said there aphid had two key iden­ti­fy­ing fea­tures.

One is its “elon­gated green body”, the other the aphid’s ab­sence of si­phun­culi (cor­nices), col­lo­qui­ally known as its “honey tubes” or “ex­haust pipes.”

Mr Brier said the depart­ment agrees with Mr van Helden’s as­sess­ment that the aphids are com­ing.

“It’s a mat­ter of when it comes and then mit­i­gat­ing it.”

He said the aphids will likely “ride the win­ter winds”, which blow from the south and south-west.

PHOTO: DEPART­MENT OF AGRI­CUL­TURE AND FISH­ERIES

EN ROUTE: The Rus­sian Wheat Aphid has an elon­gated green body and no "honey tubes".

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