Sugarcane Aphids: A Threat to Forage Sorghums, Sorghum-Sudangrass and Sudangrass

Sugarcane aphids feed on and damage all species of Sorghum grown for grain, forage and hay.  Aphids feed on plant sap and infested leaves turn yellow and then brown and die, reducing forage yield. Sugarcane aphids also produce large amounts of honeydew, a sticky waste product that accumulates on leaves.  A black sooty mold sometimes grows on the honeydew, turning leaves black.  The honeydew on leaves and stems can gum up harvest machinery.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Jourdan Bell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Amarillo, TX


The following practices can reduce the risk of sugarcane aphid damage:

  1. Plant hybrids with tolerance to sugarcane aphid and that are adapted to your growing region. Research studies have shown that some sorghum/sudans and forage sorghum have some tolerance to sugarcane aphids.  These hybrids are not immune, but sugarcane aphid infestations increase more slowly, possibly allowing time to for the crop to reach harvest stage before aphids reach damaging levels.  Ask seed companies about the availability of sugarcane aphid tolerant hybrids.


  1. Control Johnsongrass in and around the field as sugarcane aphids can overwinter on Johnsongrass.


  1. Plant early


  1. Check fields weekly to determine if sugarcane aphids are increasing. If infestations are increasing and causing leaf damage, consider an early harvest or insecticide treatment.


  1. Two insecticides, Sivanto Prime and Transform WG, are labeled for control of sugarcane aphid in forage sorghums. Good coverage is essential as sugarcane aphids feed on the underside of the leaf.


For more information, refer to Texas A&M AgriLife publication “Managing Insect Pests of Texas Forage Crops”.


Dr. Allen Knutson

Professor, Extension Entomologist

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Department of Entomology

Dallas, TX



Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson

Associate Professor, Forage Extension Specialist

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Department of Soil & Crop Sciences

Overton, TX



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