Call Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 if you see this pest
Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia) has been found on over 1,400 square kilometres of land in the mid-north of South Australia. Russian wheat aphid is a major pest of cereal crops which injects toxins into the plant during feeding, retarding growth and killing the plant. Russian wheat aphid is found in all major cereal production regions around the world however this is the first time it has been detected in Australia. Biosecurity Queensland is asking people to be on the lookout for symptoms of Russian wheat aphid in wheat, barley or other winter cereals and report suspected cases to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.
Russian wheat aphid is a soft bodied insect that feeds mainly on wheat and barley but can attack most cereal crops. It is light green in colour, with a fine waxy coating, and up to 1.8 millimetres in length. It has a needle-like mouthpart and an elongated body. Adults can be both winged or wing-less, however nymphs are wing-less. Identification characteristics include a lack of siphuncles (exhaust pipes) seen in most aphids and in wingless adults two structures appear at the rear of the insect that look like a double tailed cauda.
What damage does it cause?
Russian wheat aphid is a serious pest of winter cereals and causes significant yield loss in wheat and barley. When feeding the aphid injects salivary toxins into the plant tissue causing white, purple or yellowish streaks to form on the leaf and for it to roll up.
Adults can spread by using wind currents. Dispersal can also occur by hitchhiking on machinery, clothes or plant material.
Noticeable loss of green colouration throughout the crop, stunted plant growth and loss of vigour, leaf roll up (particularly along the leaf edges) and discoloured streaks on leaves.
More information is available in the Industry Alert article on the Beatsheet.
What to do if you suspect Russian wheat aphid?
Report it to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 or Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.
Photos of symptoms/aphids can be sent to:
To download a PDF version of the Pest Alert, click on the link Russian wheat aphid pest alert
Photos: Frank Peairs, Colorado State University and Phil Sloderbeck, Kansas State University.