David Voegtlin, a research entomologist in the Center for Economic Entomology in the Natural History Survey, reported on March 28 that first instars of soybean aphids were present on partially open buds of buckthorn plants (Rhamnus cathartica and R. alnifolia) in experimental cages in Champaign County. At that time, David seemed to think that the eggs had survived the winter quite well. Recent cold, wet weather, however, slowed their development and may have caused some mortality. Those that survived will produce the second generation very soon.
David will watch these aphids closely to report the progress of their development this spring. In addition, suction traps that capture flying aphids will begin operation at several locations in early May. Although soybean aphids caused little concern among soybean growers in Illinois in 2002, we want to keep our eyes on them, just in case the potential for dramatic increases in their numbers occurs.--Kevin Steffey