Soybean aphid biocontrol research seeks cooperators

Soybean aphids have been sighted on V1-stage soybean plants this summer, and they may become a problem. Field infestations are often accompanied by beneficial insects, but it is not known whether these predators and parasites can be manipulated to reduce aphid damage. The Leopold Center is supporting our research on biocontrol of the soybean aphid.

Asian lady beetle feeding on soybean aphids.

When an aphid outbreak occurs, beneficial insects are attracted to the field by either volatile chemicals emitted from soybean after injury or by the honeydew exuded by the feeding aphids. In our research, we use beneficial insect lures and sugar water in treated fields to attract additional beneficial insects. We are seeking growers to participate in this study in return for financial reimbursement. The growers' responsibility would be to harvest the plots by using their customary equipment and a weigh wagon supported by the project. In addition, a trapping experiment conducted in the late fall will use recently identified soybean aphid lures to reduce the soybean aphid overwintering population. Farm sites also are needed for this research.

If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact Farming Systems Coordinator Rick Exner by phone at (515) 294-5486 or by e-mail at

This article originally appeared on page 119 of the IC-490(16) -- July 14, 2003 issue.

Updated 07/13/2003 - 1:00pm