First and third authors: Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis 95616; and second author: UCCE Sacramento County, 4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, CA 95616
Laboratory studies were conducted on the characteristics of beet yellows closterovirus (BYV) transmission to sugar beets by the bean aphid, Aphis fabae. The relative transmission efficiency and the retention, acquisition, and inoculation thresholds were evaluated using clonal aphid colonies. Transmission efficiency was studied between different apterous aphid species (A. fabae and Myzus persicae ), between alate and apterous morphs of A. fabae and M. persicae, and among five clonal aphid colonies of A. fabae. Results indicated, on average, that apterous M. persicae transmitted twice as efficiently as apterous A. fabae (60 and 34%, respectively), apterous forms of A. fabae were equally efficient in transmitting BYV as compared with alate A. fabae (28 and 29%, respectively), and the five clonal colonies of A. fabae ranged from 28 to 40% transmission efficiency with an average of 34%. The maximum retention time recorded for BYV by A. fabae was between 24 and 48 h. After a 1-h acquisition access, a transmission efficiency of 10% was obtained, with maximum transmission efficiency (the highest average percent transmission that is statistically different from all other previous averages) of 39% reached after 6 h of acquisition access. Inoculation thresholds occurred within 1 h, with maximum transmission efficiency (42%) reached after a 6-h inoculation access. Using an electronic monitoring system, a range of 9 to 38 min (20.5 mean) was recorded for the stylets of A. fabae to reach the phloem sieve elements. This was consistent with our threshold of a 20-min acquisition access recorded through direct observation.