Russian wheat aphid

Russian wheat aphid

Name: Diuraphis noxia

Alias: Russian wheat aphid is a small light green aphid that resembles the shape of a grain of rice. Unlike other aphid species, it has relatively short antennae. It has two bumps coming out of the back end, which is the most obvious sign that it is a Russian wheat aphid and not a different species. Russian wheat aphids reproduce constantly throughout the growing year, and instead of laying eggs like many insects, they give birth to live young.

Crimes: Russian wheat aphids prefer grain crops such as wheat and barley. Feeding on the plant causes leaf rolling with white or purple streaks through the leaf. From a distance the affected “Yield losses can be quite severe with heavy infestations.

Redeeming qualities: None known.

Sentence: Unfortunately the economic threshold for Russian grain aphids is significantly less than other aphid species. If you find Russian grain aphids on 5% of tillers in the spring, or 1 out of every 20 tillers you look at, it is worth the effort to try and control them. The good news is that aphids are very soft and easily managed through simple pesticide applications. There is a wide host of pesticides that are effective at killing aphids, such as chlorpyrifos, sulfoxyflor, and thiamethoxam to name a few. Aphid control is best achieved during the hottest part of the day. Be sure to always read and follow label instructions.

For more information on dangerous and beneficial bugs, call UI Extension educator Joseph Sagers at 208-270-4031 or email