They’re here. Already, we are seeing some Russian Wheat Aphids this season. Which is a timely reminder to check your cereal crops for all insects, especially early sown crops or crops planted in paddocks that had a bit of a green bridge over March/April. Below is what you need to look out for, with one of the main distinguishing characteristics being their dual tail appearance (looks like twin exhaust pipes!). Use this to help distinguish them from other cereal aphids. Also, look for the symptoms out in the paddock; the leaf striping, leaf curling and curling of the heads later in the season. In low number cases, an application of a robust insecticide may be enough for a knockdown and anti feed. However, in higher numbers, you may require a knockdown combined with an anti-feed. Call our agronomists for more information on what you should be spraying.
(above) Russian Wheat Aphids in early sown barley.
There are also other bugs getting around, some of the main ones to keep an eye on at this stage are Lucerne Fleas and Red-Legged Earth Mites (RLEM). Be sure to keep an eye out in all crops for them. Lucerne flea adults can be an average size of 3mm, with a globular shaped soft body, segmented antennae and can vary from light yellow-brownish to green with irregular darker patches. RLEM are easier to spot with their eight orange legs but are still quite small, with adults being only about 1mm long and larvae about 0.2mm long. Both Dimethoate and Le-Mat can be used as control options for both bugs.