Sugarcane Yellow Aphids

Sugarcane Yellow Aphids are ferocious pest that is give farmers in sugarcane growing areas nightmares. They also attack sorghum causing a lot of damage.

Sugarcane growing in Kenya

The sugarcane industry in Kenya started around 1902, when sugarcane was planted in Kibos, to be used for production of jaggery.

The main production areas are: –

  • Nyanza sugar belt Kibos, Miwani, Chemilil, Muhoroni, Songhor and Koru.
  • South Nyanza Awendo
  • Western Mumias, Bungoma and Kabras
  • Coast Ramisi, Gazi, and Shimba Hills

Much of sugarcane is grown by small scale holders who receive considerable aid from the factory such as ploughing, canecutting and transportation assistance.

Problems facing sugarcane farming in Kenya

  • Pests
  • Accidental fires
  • Flooding of markets by cheap import sugars
  • Closure of some factories and processing companies
  • Delay in disbursing payments

Sugarcane Yellow Aphids

A ferocious pest that is giving farmers in sugar growing areas a nightmare. It has been reported to also attack sorghum causing damage if not controlled.

  1. Biology

The sugarcane yellow aphids (Sipha flava) are lemon yellow but under some circumstances they are pale green.

They measure about 2mm long covered with short black spines and has two double rows of dark spots on its back.

Both the winged and wingless aphids can exist in the same colony.

Wild host are grasses.

Female give for 28 days without mating to living young ones producing averagely 2 nymphs every day.

These nymphs mature in 13-19 days.

  1. Symptoms and Damage

The aphids feed on the underside of the leaves inducing toxins which leads to plant chlorosis. The feeding starts with the lower leaves going upwards

When the seedlings are attacked, purple chlorosis is seen while mature leaves have yellow chlorosis on heavy infestation. The discoloration symptoms will be noticed when the crop has been severely damaged. For plant that won’t be killed by this heavy infestation, stunted growth is common thus delaying maturity of the crop. This is illustrated in pictures below.

  1. Scouting

Scouting should be done early as the crop emerge. The abundance of sugarcane yellow aphids is determined by the presence of grasses surrounding the crop.

Crops attacked by sugarcane yellow aphids are; sugarcane, sorghum, finger millet and nappier grass.

Inspection should be done beginning the first week of plant emergence, thereafter, twice a week.

Most damage is noticed in young plants but continues with the crop to maturity if they are not properly managed.

  1. Chemical control

Management of the alternate host that is the grass weeds is very important therefore before the sugarcane is attacked at early growth stages; by application of herbicides during land preparation such as:

USE CATAPULT 480 SL is non- Selective post emergence herbicides, to control Annual and perennial grasses and broad leaved weeds. Use during Sugarcane Land preparation to clear all weeds.
Rate of Use: 3.0Litres per Hectare (300ml in 20L)

WEMBE 200 SL is non- Selective post emergence herbicides for control Annual and perennial grasses and broad leaved weeds. Use during Sugarcane Land preparation to clear all weeds especially those tougher weeds such as purslane, oxalis etc.
Rate of use: 3.0Litres per Hectare (300ml in 20L)

When Sugarcane is above waist apply HURRICANE 20% SL between rows to control Annual grasses and broad leaved weeds.

HURRICANE 20% SL a Non Selective post emergence herbicide, on Maize, Sweet corn, Baby corn and Sugarcane to control Annual grasses and broad leaved weeds.
Rate of Use: 1.5Litres per Hectare (150ml in 20L)

Spray the recommended insecticides below to control Sugarcane Yellow Aphids, USE;
LEXUS 247 SC 8ml + Integra 3ml in 20 litres of water.
Kingcode elite 50EC 10ml + Integra 3ml in 20 litres of water.

Kingcode Eilite image

KINGCODE ELITE® 50 EC is a highly systemic and contact insecticide for foliar and stem application and is active particularly against sucking insects and chewing insects with broad spectrum long residual activity widely used in agriculture for controlling insect pests including aphids, thrips, whiteflies, diamond back moth, leaf miner, African bollworm, pod borer, stem borers and leaf beetle in a broad range of edible and ornamental crops.



INTEGRA® is an organo-silicone based non-ionic wetter and spreader, highly effective in improving spray coverage, adhesion and penetration of chemicals.

N/B: Chemicals should be sprayed early in the morning

Last updated on Monday, July 17, 2023 at 8:45 am

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