Cereal aphids cause direct damage to rainfed wheat through sucking of plants sap and cause losses of up to 90%, particularly in dry years in Kenya. The Russian wheat aphid (RWA) is the most destructive and may account for up to 50% yield loss or more depending on the severity and length of infestation. Current control strategies mainly rely on the use of insecticides to control cereal aphids’ infestations. Chemicals improve yields in the short term, but adversely affect the environment, hence the need for development of effective IPM strategies. Early planted crops escape heavy aphid attacks and give good yields. A combination of seed rate of 100 kg and 100 kg N/ha provided the best cultural management of RWA. Ladybird beetles Adonia variegata, lacewings (Chrysoppa spp.) and parasitic wasp Aphidius sp. were the most important natural enemies. Control of cereal aphids can be achieved with systemic insecticides applied as seed dressings or foliar applied insecticides. Four lines of wheat were found to show RWA resistance and crosses with Kenyan wheat made and populations are being evaluated for resistance to cereal aphids.
Part of the book: Wheat Improvement, Management and Utilization