Soybean aphid (Aphis glycines Matsumura) is a severe pest of soybean in central North America. Outbreaks of the aphid in Ontario are often spotty in distribution, with some geographical areas affected severely and others with few or no aphid populations occurring in soybean for the duration of the season. A. glycines spend summers on soybean and overwinter on buckthorn, a shrub that is widespread in southern Ontario and is commonly found in agricultural hedgerows and at the margins of woodlots. A. glycines likely use both short distance migratory flights from buckthorn and longer distance dispersal flights in the search for acceptable summer hosts. This study aims to model colonization of soybean fields by A. glycines engaged in early-season migration from overwintering hosts. Akaike's information criterion (AIC) was used to rank numerous competing linear and probit models using field parameters to predict aphid presence, colonization, and density. The variable that best modeled aphid density in soybean fields in the early season was the ratio of buckthorn density to field area, although dramatic differences in relationships between the parameters were observed between study years. This study has important applications in predicting areas that are at elevated risk of developing economically damaging populations of soybean aphid and which may act as sources for further infestation.
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