Altering Planting Date to Manage Melanaphis sacchari (Hemiptera: Aphididae) Populations in Sweet Sorghum

Nathan H. Mercer, John J. Obrycki, Ricardo T. Bessin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Melanaphis sacchari Zehntner is a new pest of sweet sorghum in the United States, with the potential to cause complete crop failure. In Kentucky, sweet sorghum is normally planted in early May and harvested in late August or September. Planting sweet sorghum earlier in the season may avoid damaging levels of M. sacchari that develop in late summer. In a 2-yr field study, three different planting dates separated by a month (April, May, and June) were tested for their effect on M. sacchari densities and sweet sorghum yield. April (early) planted sweet sorghum was grown in greenhouses and transplanted to the field. May (mid) and June (late) planted sweet sorghum were direct seeded in the field. Melanaphis sacchari population densities were evaluated weekly starting in June. Sweet sorghum was harvested at the onset of the hard dough stage. Plots were split into two subplots, insecticide or noninsecticide, in the second year to control for planting date effect on yield. Early-planted sweet sorghum had lower aphid densities, but had lower yield relative to mid-planting date, which had the highest yield. Insecticide drenches in 2019 reduced cumulative aphid days in mid-plantings and late plantings, but did not significantly affect yield within planting dates. Seeding sweet sorghum earlier can reduce M. sacchari densities; however, this method alone may not provide the highest yields. We documented that the recommended planting date (May) for Kentucky produced the highest yield.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-200
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Economic Entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s).


  • integrated pest management
  • invasive species
  • planting date
  • sweet sorghum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Altering Planting Date to Manage Melanaphis sacchari (Hemiptera: Aphididae) Populations in Sweet Sorghum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this