Anyone who thinks they have insects figured out obviously doesn't know insects very well. Any entomologist worth his or her salt will tell you that very quickly. By the same token, entomologists who've 'been around the block' a few times know when it's prudent to take precautions.
The stars may be lining up for a big soybean aphid year in soybean aphid territory, including most if not all of Indiana. The last time aphids caused major damage and warranted treatment was two years ago. Treatment extended well into central Indiana in '05.
One factor pointing toward an aphid year is simply that the insect, relatively new to the U.S. as a soybean pest, seems increasingly set on an every-other-year pattern, with high numbers and big potential for damage and soybean yield loss one year, then virtually no activity the next year, except perhaps in isolated areas. Yet insects don't always read the book or go star-gazing, especially ones with short histories. So there's no guarantee that this will be a big aphid year.
Not wanting to take chances, Purdue University Extension crops entomologist Christian Krupke and other Midwest entomologists have lined up a unique educational opportunity for farmers, chemical dealers and anyone else interested in learning the ins and out's of aphid management. "The more the merrier," he says, "Everyone is welcome to participate."
"We're broadcasting a short course on aphids on Tuesday morning, March 6," he explains. "The course will discuss the threat of soybean aphid for 2007, assess the risks based on what we know at this point, and focus on what existing natural enemies are doing for growers now, and the prospects for the future." Those natural predators that are enemies of aphids are primarily ladybird beetles and parasites.
Here's how the teleconference works. Sign up anytime at: www.ncipmc.org/teleconference/. Before the conference, Krupke says, you will be able to download a PowerPoint file of the presentations that will be made during the teleconference.
Then on March 6 you will simply call into the conference and hear various Midwest specialists present their information. As they do so you will be able to follow along on the PowerPoint presentations that you already have on your computer.
This special opportunity is funded by the North Central Soybean Research Program, Krupke notes. What's especially 'cool' about the opportunity is that you don't even need an Internet connection on the day of the program to participate. All you need is a telephone line and a monitor (computer) to view the PowerPoint show you've already received, as it happens live.
For those who are interested, both certified crop advisor credits and continuing education units credits in Integrated Pest Management will be available through this program.
When you access the link to sign up, simply select the soybean aphid short course. The program will begin promptly at 9:30 p.m. EDT, and will run through 1 p.m.