Integrated pest management

Insecticide resistance testing offered for green peach aphid

We’ve been hot on the trail of insecticide resistance in green peach aphid for a while now, and we are hoping you’ll come join us on the hunt.

The National Aphid Insecticide Resistance Surveillance (NAIRS) program is offering insecticide resistance testing of green peach aphid throughout the 2020 and 2022 growing seasons for free to grain growers and advisors – whether insecticide resistance is suspected or not!

Led by cesar, this new research initiative will investigate the levels and geographical distribution of insecticide resistance in green peach aphid across Australian grain growing regions.

The scourge of the green peach aphid

The green peach aphid, Myzus persicae, will feed on a variety of crops, and is a major issue for horticultural and grains industries, particularly in canola.

Critically for canola growers, green peach aphid transmits Turnip yellows virus (formerly known as Beet western yellows virus). Crops infected with Turnip yellow virus in the early seedling stage can experience seed yield losses of over 40%.

To make matters worse, the green peach aphid demonstrates some level of resistance or reduced sensitivity evolving to five insecticide groups registered for use on this species in canola – reducing currently available chemical control options for the pest.

Resistance testing undertaken in recent years has shown green peach aphid populations in Australia have high levels of resistance to synthetic pyrethroids and carbamates, moderate resistance to organophosphates and low-level resistance developing to neonicotinoids.

Previous research undertaken by cesar, the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and CSIRO also detected a reduced sensitivity to sulfoxaflor (Transform®) in multiple populations from the Esperance region of Western Australia.

Sulfoxaflor is the only active registered for use by the grains industry that remains fully effective against green peach aphid. If resistance to sulfoxaflor was to evolve and spread to other green peach aphid populations, it would represent a substantial threat for growers’ ability to control this pest effectively.

A new project underway

NAIRS is being undertaken as part of a new four-year GRDC project, led by cesar in collaboration with CSIRO, DPIRD, ISK, BASF and Corteva. 

Through NAIRS we will develop new resistance testing methods, evaluating the risk of resistance evolution to new insecticides and developing improved knowledge on the dispersal patterns of green peach aphid and the Turnip yellows virus across seasons.

By the project’s end in 2023, we hope for growers and advisors to have a better understanding of the risks of Turnip yellows virus transmission and improved tools for managing insecticide resistance in green peach aphid.

Submit your aphids for testing

To help us understand the distribution of insecticide resistance in green peach aphid populations and support informed decision-making regarding chemical applications, we are asking growers and advisors to send in aphid samples for free resistance testing.

We are interested in receiving:

  • Green peach aphid populations that are present in crops but aren’t a problem;
  • Green peach aphid populations that are present in crops and you’ve had problems controlling them;
  • Green peach aphid populations or other aphid species that are suspected to have insecticide resistance.

Sending aphids in to cesar

To ensure the success of the testing we ask that you please follow the procedure outlined in the aphid collection guidelines.

We will share the results with you once the aphids have been tested, however please note we may not be able to process the aphids immediately and results can take some weeks. The benefit of testing is to obtain some insights into the resistance status of the aphids on your farm and in your region to assist with future management.

If you are unsure if you have green peach aphid, you can contact the PestFacts south-eastern team at cesar for free aphid identification assistance (


This article draws on the findings from previous GRDC-funded research:

Jones et al. 2007. Yield-limiting potential of Beet western yellows virus in Brassica napus. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 58:788-801

Umina, P. 2019. Green peach aphid shows signs of low-level resistance to insecticide. Ground Cover. 29 June 2019.

Thanks to Dr Marielle Babineau for providing edits.

Cover image: Photo by Andrew Weeks, Cesar Australia

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