Q: What are Aphids?



Aphids, commonly known as plant lice attack nearly all species of plants. Aphid damage is usually most noticeable on shade trees and ornamental plantings. They are described as small, soft-bodies , pear-shaped insects that are frequently found in large numbers. Their bodies may be translucent, but are usually various shades of green, brown, yellow, or white, sometimes blending in with the plant on which they are feeding.


Symptoms and Damage

Damage often appears first as spotty yellow discolorations, usually on the undersides of leaves; the leaves may later dry out and wilt. Some aphid species form galls or cause distorted, curled, or deformed leaves. Aphids attached to other plant parts such as stems or twigs may cause stunted growth, early leaf fall, or twig mortality, but aphid damage very rarely kills the plant. Plants should be inspected frequently during the growing season.


Prevention and Control

Aphids have many natural enemies but while these agents may be effective at times in reducing aphid populations, their action may be too slow to prevent aphid feeding damage, and other direct controls may be necessary. Heavy infestations on foliage or other plant parts may be removed by the frequent application of strong jets of water. Infested leaves, twigs, and stems may be pruned off and destroyed. For plants growing indoors in greenhouses and atriums, biological pest control methods that use live aphid-specific predators may be deployed. Aphids may also be controlled by a variety of registered chemical insecticides(including insecticidal soaps). The application of these insecticides, however, should be undertaken with caution because some may be toxic to the plants requiring treatment.


For the most recent information on chemicals available for control of these pests, call Agriculture Canada’s Pesticides Directorate in Ottawa ( toll-free) at 1-800-267-6315.

source; Kusch, D.S.;Cerzxke, H.F. 1991. Aphids. For, Can., Northwest Reg., North. For, Cent., Edmonton, Alberta. For, Leafl.11.



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