sustainability through science & innovation

Monitoring for green peach aphid mutants

There is biotype of green peach aphid overseas that cannot be controlled with neonicotinoids. It has never been detected in Australia, but we are monitoring for it just in case.


If there ever were an award for the biggest overachiever in the insect pest world, the green peach aphid would be in the running for first prize.

The green peach aphid (Myzus persicae, GPA) is very good at being a pest.

Not only does it have a very wide host range (> 400 plant species!), it has shown that it is capable of developing resistance to multiple insecticide chemical groups, including synthetic pyrethroids, organophosphates, carbamates, and neonicotinoids.

One of GPA’s most recent and concerning feats is the evolution of the R81T mutation.  

Currently only detected in Europe, northern Africa and parts of Asia, this mutation is bad news as it confers resistance to neonicotinoids and results in complete control failures in the field when using this chemistry. Moreover, this mutation will almost certainly confer cross-resistance to sulfoxaflor (Transform).

There have been no known detections of GPA with the R81T mutation in Australia*.

However, recognising the adverse impact it would have on oilseed crops if the R81T mutation were to arrive or evolve in Australia, in 2018 we are monitoring GPA populations for this mutation with support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

With the help of growers and advisers around Australia, yellow sticky traps are being placed in the field for up to a month. These will be sent back to cesar, where DNA extraction techniques will identify resistance mechanisms to insecticides such as neonicotinoids. The sticky traps will be placed in horticultural crops, broadacre crops, and even urban gardens. 

We are currently sending out surveillance tool kits, including sticky traps, instructions, and return envelopes, to growers and agronomists wishing to participate in the R81T surveillance plan. To get involved or to find out more about the project, contact researcher Dr Siobhan de Little ( or + 03 9349 4723).


Sticky trap monitoring for green peach aphid in canola (source: Adam Dellwo).


*Neonicotinoid resistance has been detected in Australian GPA, however it is regulated by a different mechanism to the R81T mutation and is very unlikely to cause complete control failures.

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