Managing soybean aphids in 2007: How will biological control contribute?

This distance education short course will be offered March 6, 2007, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (CDT)

Since its discovery in North America in 2000, the soybean aphid has become the key insect pest of soybean in the north-central states and Canada.

Populations of this insect have reached relatively widespread outbreak proportions during odd-numbered years, with localized outbreaks occurring with regularity. Widespread outbreaks in 2003 and 2005 cost soybean producers millions of dollars in management costs and lost yields. Captures of winged soybean aphids in suction traps in the Midwest in 2006 suggest the potential for a widespread soybean aphid outbreak in 2007.

Natural enemies play a significant role in regulation of soybean aphid populations annually. The multi-colored Asian lady beetle and the insidious flower bug are two of the most widely recognized predators of soybean aphids, but other predators, parasitoids, and pathogens can have significant impacts. Additionally, research is underway to explore the possibility of importing carefully studied natural enemies from Asia and releasing them in North America. This "classical biological control" approach has generated success in other situations with invasive pest species.

On March 6, 2007, entomologists from throughout the Midwest will present a short course focused on management of soybean aphids in 2007, with emphasis on biological control, including conservation of natural enemies. Experts from several states will deliver the short course via distance education technology to sites in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Receiving sites in all states will advertise the short course locally.

The general program content will be:

  • History and biology of the soybean aphid.
  • Review of the soybean aphid situation.
  • Biological control of soybean aphids--What is it?
  • What do we have to work with in the United States?
  • Introducing new natural enemies into the United States.
  • Preparing for soybean aphids in 2007--Management guidelines and the potential for biological control. What is it we don't know that will help us in the future?
  • Questions, answers, feedback.

The short course will be conducted on March 6, 2007, from 8:30 p.m. to 12:00 noon (CDT), with audience interaction and feedback from 12:00 noon to 12:30 p.m.

The short course is being developed for soybean producers, members of state soybean associations, agribusiness professionals (CCA CEUs will be applied for), extension personnel, and any other interested groups. Look for promotional information from state extension groups and state soybean associations.


Online registration at

Insidious flower bug nymph (Orius insidiosus).Insidious flower bug nymph (Orius insidiosus).

This short course is funded by the North Central Soybean Research Program.

This article originally appeared on page 36 of the IC-498 (1) -- February 12, 2007 issue.

Updated 02/12/2007 - 11:23am