Biological effectiveness of aficides on sorghum aphid Melanaphis sacchari (Zehntner) in northern of Sinaloa

E. Cortez-Mondaca1; F. A. Valenzuela-Escoboza2; J. A. López-Guzmán3*; J. Pérez-Márquez3; T. Moreno Gallegos3

1. Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales Agrícolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP)-Campo Experimental Valle del Fuerte. Km 1619 Carretera Internacional México-Nogales. Juan José Ríos, Sinaloa 81110., Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias, Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales Agrícolas y Pecuarias,

, Mexico , 2. Escuela Superior de Agricultura del Valle del Fuerte-UAS. Avenida Japaraqui y Calle 16, Juan José Ríos, Sinaloa., Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, Escuela Superior de Agricultura del Valle del Fuerte, UAS,
, Mexico ,
3. INIFAP-C. E. Valle de Culiacán, Km 17.0 carretera Culiacán-El Dorado Culiacán, Sinaloa 80430., Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias, INIFAP,
, Mexico

Correspondence: * Corresponding Author: Jesús Asunción López Guzmán, Campo Experimental Valle de Culiacán, Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales Agrícolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP). Carretera Culiacán-Eldorado Km. 17.5 C.P.80000. Culiacán, Sinaloa, México. Tel: (044) 3111169348 E-mail: E-mail:


The work aimed to determine the biological effectiveness of synthetic aficides with different modes of action to control sugarcane aphid Melanaphis sacchari (Zehntner) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in Northern Sinaloa. Assessment was carried out under field conditions in a sorghum crop. Sampling was performed 24 h before aficide application and sampling was carried out 24, 48, 72 and 120 h after aficide application to measure their effects. For the last sample point, all tested insecticides caused more than 95 % of mortality. Spirotetramat, Sulfoxaflor, Acetamiprid and Acephate + vegetable oil caused 100 % of mortality. The use of one of the insecticides with high biological effectiveness should be based on crop developmental stage, effect on non-targeted control insects and presence of other insect pests, type of sprinkling system, and economic competitiveness.

Received: 2018 March 23; Accepted: 2018 July 4

revbio. 2018 Dec 11; 5(spe2): e482
doi: 10.15741/revbio.05.nesp.e482

Keywords: Key words: Sugarcane aphid, Chemical Control, Carbamates, Phosphates, Neonicotinoids.


The sugarcane aphid Melanaphis sacchari (Zehntner) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) affects crop development in all of its stages; however, the damage is higher in crops with lesser development: it causes damages to the plant while feeding on the sap, making the plant lose its vigor and the foliage acquire a yellowish color, later turning brownreddish, which is translated into a loss of performance (Bowling et al., 2016), from 70 to 100 %, if efficient control measures are not implemented (Rodriguez-del-Bosque & Teran, 2015). On the other hand, the excrement they produce constitutes an appropriate substrate for the growth of the fungus producing black soot, which interferes with photosynthesis (Singh et al., 2004) and turns unacceptable foliage into food for livestock (Rodriguez-del-Bosque & Teran, 2015; Michaud et al., 2017). A step for reducing the sugarcane aphid populations and their damages, as well as other pests and restrain their dissemination, is the application of conventional synthetic insecticides of different toxicological groups with high biological effectiveness (Lagunes et al., 2009), which have to be selective and specific as well, to avoid damages to non-target populations, specially to natural enemies (Ellsworth & Martinez-Carrillo, 2001). The suggested threshold of economic damages for the chemical control of sugarcane aphid is from 50 to 100 aphids per leaf (Rodriguez-del-Bosque & Teran, 2015), nonetheless, this above mentioned population incidence can be found a few days after the sugarcane aphid arrives to the crop. The objective of this research study was to determine the biological effectiveness of synthetic aficides for controlling sorghum aphid M. sacchari, in Sinaloa.

Material and methods

The experiment was performed at INIFAP-Campo Experimental Valle del Fuerte (25° 46´ 28.71´´ N 108° 48´ 26.29´´ W) in Juan Jose Rios, Sinaloa, Mexico, in June, 2015, in a sorghum land lot, at grain-filling stage. Ten synthetic aficides with different modes of actions were evaluated (Table 1).

Table 1.

Insecticides evaluated against sorghum aphid Melanaphis sacchari (Zehntner) in a commercial plot at the INIFAPCEVAF 2015.

Active ingredient Tradename Dose/ha Unit price ($) Cost/ha ($)
Spirotetramat (4A) Movento 300 ml 2,067.00 620.10
Imidacloprid (4A) Picador 150 g 600.00 180.00
Sulfoxaflor (4C) Toretto 70 ml 2,992.00 209.44
Flonicamid (9C) Beleaf 150 g 629.00 629.00
Acetamiprid (4A) Rescate 20 SP 150 g 1,879.38 281.90
Oxamil (1A) Vydate 1 L 299.75 299.75
Methamidophos (1B) Kaizen 600 1 L 128.00 128.00
Dimethoate (1B) Versoato 1 L 100.00 100.00
Acephate (1B) Orthene Ultra 1 Kg 351.00 351.00
Acephate + Oil (1B) Orthene Ultra + Del Ms. 1 Kg + 0.5 ml 351.00 + 14.00 365.00
Control (wáter) --- 5.2 L --- ----

TFN1(# letter) = group of insecticide action mode according to IRAC (2017).

Prior to application of the treatments, 24 hours earlier, the percentage of area infested by sorghum aphid on the underside of five leaves (by repetition) was determined, distributed along three central furrows (useful land lot), with marked and stapled tags onto each leaf. The conversion of required doses for the experimental land lot was realized by means of simple three rule. Water pH used for spraying was regulated with the addition of 2 mL of a dispersant, adhesive acidifier (Surfacid®) prior to addition of insecticide. Insecticide application was performed with automatic sprayer systems (Honda® WJR 4025, with two cone-shaped nozzles), spraying an equal surface as the one from the experimental unit (6 furrows of 0.8 cm of separation between furrows per 10 m in length = 48 m2), average water consumption was 5.3 L per sprinkler pump.

To measure the effect of the evaluated insecticides, samplings were performed 24, 48, 72, and 120 h after applying the treatment (AAT), the infested area on each leaf, previously tagged, was recorded. The percentage of reduction of infestation (= mortality) was obtained by difference. The experimental design was completely randomized, with four repetitions and on each one, five leaves with sorghum aphids were inspected. Obtained data were submitted to an analysis of variance (ANOVA) for non-parametric statistics (Kruskal-Wallis test) (Olivares, 1994).

Results and discussion

The effect of insecticides on sugarcane aphid 24 h AAT, was moderate, considering mortality due to all insecticides was of 50 % maximum; the most effective treatments were Sulfoxaflor and Dimethoate, with 49 and 54 % mortality, respectively; 48 h AAT the most effective ones were Dimethoate and Sulfoxaflor with 63 and 55 % mortality, respectively; 72 h AAT, Sulfoxaflor, Imidacloprid, Acetamiprid, and Spirotetramat presented values of 100, 97, 92, and 91 % mortality, respectively and 120 h AAT, they showed the highest effect on sugarcane aphid, Sulfoxaflor, Flonicamid, Spirotetramat, Imidacloprid, and Acetamiprid with 100, 99, 100, 99, and 100 % mortality, respectively. Sulfoxaflor, Acetamiprid, Spirotetramat, and Acephate + vegetable oil (as adjuvant) reduced 100 % of infested area, while with Flonicamid, Imidacloprid, and Acephate, 99 % mortality was achieved (Fig. 1). On the four sampling days of effectiveness, significant difference among treatments was detected; mortality did not occur in the control.

[Figure ID: f1] Figure 1.

Percentage of leaf area reduction infested by sorghum aphid Melanaphis sacchari (Zehntner) in samplings at 24, 48, 72 and 120 h after the application of treatments, in a sorghum plot.

Dimethoate, a systemic insecticide that acts by contact and ingestion, reported as ineffective against sugarcane aphid in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico (Rodriguez-del-Bosque & Teran, 2015), showed a good biological effectiveness in the present research and has a low economic cost (Table 1). According to Flint & Dreistad (2013), it presents a moderate spectrum, and a low residual effect for natural enemies, however, it is highly toxic for bees. Methamidophos, another organophosphate with reduced economic cost, with a wide spectrum and moderate to high residual effect on natural enemies (Flint & Dreistadt, 2013), is a systemic insecticide with action by contact and ingestion. Acephate has an elevated economic cost, in relation to the above mentioned ones, it has a wide spectrum and moderate residual effect on natural enemies (Flint & Dreistadt, 2013); it acts by ingestion and contact, and systemically. In addition, Oxamyl (carbamate) has low economic cost/ha similar to Acephate, it is systemic, with a wide spectrum and a moderate residual effect on beneficial fauna (Flint & Dreistadt, 2013).

Sulfoxaflor, Acetamiprid (Neonicotinoids) and Flonicamid (modular of chordotonal organs; IRAC, 2017) outstanding for their effectiveness superior to 99 %, are highly selective insecticides and with short residual effect on natural enemies (Flint & Dreistadt, 2013; Jansen et al., 2011; Michaud, 2016; Tejeda et al., 2017), nevertheless, from an economic point of view, the first two insecticides are more competitive than Flonicamid since it has a 100 % higher cost than them (Table 1). Imidacloprid and Dimethoate with high effectiveness, are ones of the most competitive insecticides for their low cost, both have moderate selectivity, but Dimethoate has a short residual effect on natural enemies, the other one is moderately persistent, therefore, from this perspective, the organophosphate insecticide is the best option. Spirotetramat, derived from tetronic and tetramic acids) (IRAC, 2017) is reported as a selective, systemic insecticide, with effects over a wide range of sucking insects and little effect on natural enemies (Bruck et al., 2009), however, it has an elevated cost, similar to Flonicamid (Table 1).

It is important to consider that for aerial sprayer, the used insecticides have to be systemic or at least have translaminar effect. When insecticides of contact are used, the coverage of application is a restrictive factor, which is why it has to be done with nozzles that pulverize the solution upwards, given that the pest is found in the underside of the leaf or, if a backpack sprayer is used, nozzles have to be inverted upwards (Moreno et al., 2016). Moreover, it is important to consider the possibility that populations of sugarcane aphid coincide with populations of other pests of economic importance, such as sorghum midge Contarinia sorghicola (Coquillett) (Diptera; Cecydomiidae); since different insecticides, evaluated in this paper, such as Chlorpirifos, Dimethoate, Acephate, Methamidophos, Imidacliprid, and Sulfaxoflor, also resulted effective against this pest and are recommended for its control (Cortez-Mondaca et al., 2016; Garza, 2014; Pacheco, 1985). Finally, it is necessary to avoid applications of insecticides, especially neonicotinoids, during fructification step, to not damage pollinators (Michaud et al., 2017; Moreno et al., 2016).

The elevated biological effectiveness of the aphicides evaluated in this paper, allows to infer that M. sacchari populations present in northern Sinaloa, do not possess resistance to insecticides tested from different toxicological group, possibly because insects have not been exposed to chemical molecules, in other words, it has not been exposed to an elevated selection pressure of resistance to insecticides. It is important to realize a preventive management of resistance, rotating insecticides of different toxicological groups and mode of action, and if possible, with different site of action (IRAC, 2017) and eventually, perform monitoring studies on resistance, development, and evaluation of new aphicides.


All the evaluated aphicides showed a biological effectiveness, superior to 95 % mortality 120 hours after application; Spirotetramat, Sulfoxafor, Acetamiprid, and, Acephate + vegetable oil showed 100 % mortality. The use of some of these insecticides has to be according to crop developmental stage, effect on natural enemies, and presence of other pests, type of sprayer, and economic competition (cost/ha). Sulfoxaflor and Acetamiprid, for their biological effectiveness, selectivity, residual effect on natural enemies, and cost/ ha, stood out as effective aphicides for the chemical control of sugarcane aphid.

fn1Cite this paper: Cortez-Mondaca E., Valenzuela-Escoboza F. A., López-Guzmán J. A., Pérez-Márquez J., Moreno Gallegos T. (2018). Biological effectiveness of aficides on sorghum aphid Melanaphis sacchari (Zehntner) in northern of Sinaloa. Revista Bio Ciencias 5(nesp), e482. doi:


Authors thank staff from the Junta Local de Sanidad Vegetal del Valle del Fuerte (JLSVVF) and INIFAP-CEVAF, for funding the present work.


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