MDA Offers Safety Precautions When Spraying Aphids

ST. PAUL, Minn. – As warmer weather continues, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) urges growers and applicators to use caution when spraying soybean fields to control aphids.

“Because soybean aphid populations can increase rapidly, growers should scout fields regularly,” said MDA Inspection and Enforcement Manager, John Peckham. “Be prepared to treat, if necessary, but first determine if the 250-aphid per-plant threshold has been reached.”

When growers determine it is necessary to spray for aphids, there are several factors that should be considered. First, whether the pesticide is applied by the grower or a hired applicator, it’s a good idea to check for bee colonies in the area before spraying. The DriftWatch website (https://mn.driftwatch.org/map) can help applicators see where some beekeepers have voluntarily mapped colony locations. It is not comprehensive, so check your municipal directory for contact information on other local beekeepers.

Also, don’t apply insecticides when bees are foraging or present in nearby crops. Bees actively forage after sunrise and before sunset. When there are blooming weeds near an application site, bees may be present.

Second, it is crucial to read and follow all product labels. They indicate the correct amount of product to use and specify mixing, timing, and spraying directions for safe insecticide use and storage.

Some product labels for soybean aphid control have mandatory application setback restrictions for lakes, river and streams, or sensitive areas that affect humans. Mandatory setback distances can vary with application method. Check individual product labels for application restrictions.

Finally, Peckham says communication is an important aspect to a safe and prosperous growing season.

“Talk to your neighbors that have expressed concerns over spraying and give them advanced notice,” he said. “You can head off problems later on if you plan in advance and let neighbors know when an application will be made.”

CONTACT: Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications
651-201-6185 / allen.sommerfeld@state.mn.us