Industry alert – Russian wheat aphid found in South Australia

The South Australian government is currently responding to detections of Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia), which was initially found on a property in Tarlee in South Australia on 13 May 2016.

Since the first detection, Russian wheat aphid has been found on a further 22 properties within 1,400 square kilometres, and the number is expected to rise.

Investigations are underway to determine the source of the aphid, however it is too early to determine how it came to this area of South Australia.

Russian wheat aphid can be found in all major cereal producing regions around the world, however this is the first time it has been detected in Australia.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia (PIRSA) is working hard to contain the pest and all known infected crops are being sprayed.

Russian wheat aphid is a significant exotic pest that can be carried long distances by the wind or by hitchhiking on machinery, clothing and plant matter.

The insect injects toxins into the plant which causes discolouration and stunts growth. Affected plants will show whitish, yellow and red streak marks and rolling leaves.

South Australia have established procedures to manage pest incursions such as this and will be doing all they can to ensure Russian wheat aphid does not spread to other states.

Biosecurity Queensland wants to remind landholders to continue maintaining good biosecurity practices on their properties to prevent the introduction of Russian wheat aphid to Queensland farms.

Growers are urged to use an insecticidal seed dressing if they are yet to sow wheat or barley crops and remain vigilant by reporting any unusual aphid activity on cereal crops.

If you observe anything unusual or any signs of damage, particularly if your crops show whitish, yellow or red/purple leaf markings and rolling leaves, report it immediately to the Exotic Pest Plant Hotline on 1800 084 881 or Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23

Photos of symptoms/aphids can be sent to: plantpestdiagnostics@daf.qld.gov.au

For more information on how to identify Russian wheat aphid visit Plant Health Australia.

Last updated 07 June 2016