Aphids (Homoptera: Aphididae) on winter wheat: Predicting maximum abundance of Metopolophium dirhodum

Alois Honek, Zdenka Martinkova, Pavel Saska, Anthony F. G. Dixon

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In Central Europe, the most abundant aphid infesting the leaves of small grain cereals is Metopolophium dirhodum (Walker) (Homoptera: Aphididae). Annual variation in its seasonal dynamics was evaluated using a 25-yr series of standardized weekly censuses of winter wheat plots. M. dirhodum made up >50 % of the aphids on the foliage. Date of immigration (8 May–3 July), length of period of population increase (0–9 wk), and date of attaining maximum abundance (28 May–22 July) varied greatly. For the prediction, we regressed maximum numbers/tiller on numbers recorded in the first week after heading. The regression of maximum abundance on nonzero aphid counts revealed a critical number of ≥1.50 aphids/tiller, which if exceeded resulted in a harmful maximum abundance of ≥10 aphids/tiller at the peak. Zero aphid counts resulted in 10% of cases with a harmful maximum abundance. Using this regression for prediction will result in 18% of the recorded cases being false negatives and 9% false positives. Parallel annual variation in the average maximum numbers of M. dirhodum, Sitobion avenae (Fabricius) (Homoptera: Aphididae), and Rhopalosiphum padi (Linné) (Homoptera: Aphididae) indicated the following factors that affected their abundance: temperature in winter and host plant quality. The predictions apply only in areas where M. dirhodum is holocyclic and aphids do not overwinter in wheat stands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1751–1759
JournalJournal of Economic Entomology
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2018


  • aphid
  • Sitobion avenae
  • Rhopalosiphum padi
  • forecast
  • population dynamics

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