U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Agricultural Research Magazine 60(4): April 2012 pp. 12; ISSN 0002-161X


Aphids can transmit viruses that cause crop diseases and reduce the quality and quantity of fresh foods. Spraying insecticides can control aphids and reduce the spread of viruses, but spraying is expensive and can harm the environment. Additionally, not all aphids transmit viruses. So a key question for growers is knowing when and what to spray to control viral diseases.

Agricultural Research Service scientists Michelle Cilia and Stewart Gray, in the Biological Integrated Pest Management Unit at the Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health in Ithaca, New York, have found a way to distinguish aphids that spread viruses from those that don’t—by studying the aphid’s proteins.