As we have indicated at a number of field days this summer, the soybean aphid has been a rather elusive pest in Illinois in 2001. We have tried to initiate some research efforts in fields with large densities of the aphid, only to watch the densities "crash" because of the activities of natural enemies and the aphids dispersing from the field to recolonize other fields. However, entomologists in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, where the population densities of soybean aphids were higher, have been more successful in following through with research that should provide us with a better working knowledge of this introduced pest.|
Nonetheless, by the end of the season, we will have a lot of sampling data to sort through. The suction traps have generated data that should enable us to establish patterns of flight activity in Illinois throughout the summer. The survey team coordinated by David Onstad has collected an enormous amount of data regarding population dynamics in eastern and northeastern counties. And many other projects will offer up results that give us more insight regarding management of this pest for 2002 and beyond. As we interpret results from our efforts and the efforts of fellow entomologists in other states, we will make them available to you.
Although the soybean aphid was widespread again in 2001, we (in Illinois) escaped most of the serious infestations encountered in the northern states. So, as the soybean aphids return to buckthorn this fall, we will collect our thoughts, devise some more research plans, and determine how to prepare for this insect again next year.--Kevin Steffey