Whatever size of your garden once you have to deal with aphids at some point. It is also known as greenflies and plant lice. They are small, soft pear-shaped insects with long slender mouthparts which they use to pierce stem, leaves and tender plant parts and suck out fluid from it. Almost every plant got attacked by more than one species of aphid which had very little difference among them.
Identification of Aphid:
Aphid has a soft pear-shaped body having long legs and antennae. They are found in different colors like green, yellow, brown, red and black which depend on the species they belong and also on the plant they take feed. Many species appear waxy or woolly because of the secretion of a waxy white or gray matter over their body surface.
Most of the species have a pair of tube-like structures called cornicles which projected backward from their body. Due to these cornicles, they distinguish from other insects. They are mostly wingless but some species also had wings especially when the population is dense during the spring season. Wings help them in their wide disperse to other plants when the host plant starts deterioration. They mostly feed on dense plant stems and leaves and rapidly disperse upon any disturbance.
The life cycle of Aphid:
Aphid can develop many generations in a year. Most aphid species reproduce asexually throughout most or all of the year with adult female aphid give birth to live offspring. They can give birth to 12 offspring per day without mating. Young aphid is known as nymphs. Before reaching the adult stage they molt or shed their skin four times but they do not go through the pupal stage. Even some species reproduce sexually through mating and produce eggs providing a hardier surface to survive in hard conditions of winter especially when they present on the deciduous plants. In these conditions, they usually lay eggs on the perennial host plant.
Their population increase very rapidly. They can produce up to 80 offspring in a day and each nymph takes 7-8 days to develop into a full adult.
Damage caused by aphid:
Nymphs and adult aphid suck plant sap. They attack leaves, stem, buds, flowers, fruit, and roots depend on different plant species. Mostly aphid-like succulent and newly form buds. They like green peach, go after a range of plants while others like the rosy aphis pomi specialize in one or simply a couple of plant hosts.
- They like misshapen, curling, stunted or yellow leaves but ensure to check the underside of leaves because aphid love to hide there.
- If the leaves and stem are covered with a sticky substance which symbolizes that aphid maybe sipping sap. This honeydew a sugary liquid produced by insects as a waste that can attract other insects like ants, which gather the substance for food. When aphid kills trees their honeydew can drop off onto car, outdoor furniture, driveways and so on.
- The honeydew secreted by aphids can sometimes encourage a fungal growth called sooty mold, causing branches and leaves to seem black.
- Due to aphid feeding flowers, fruits can become distorted and deformed.
- Some aphid species cause galls to create on roots or leaves.
- They also act as a vector for the transmission of viruses between plants and also attract other insects that kill them like ladybugs.
- Many species cause extensive damage when temperatures are warm but bot hot 65-80oF, especially in the late spring season.
Although aphids seldom kill a mature plant, the damage they cause and unsightly honeydew they generate sometimes cause unbearable damage to the plant species. There are many ways to control the aphid attack.
Prevention an aphid attack:
It is a famous saying:
“prevention is always better than cure”
There are the following ways to prevent the attack of aphids.
You can check the aphid attack by following symptoms.
You have to keep a check on your plants regularly for aphid attack-at least 2 times in a week when the plant is growing rapidly in order to check the infestation as early as possible. Once to see the attack immediately prune those branches. Many species of aphid create huge damage in summer when the temperature rises. Through infestation, leaves start curling or distorted and these curled leaves become a shelter for the aphids and protect them from insecticides and natural enemies.
Presence of natural enemy
Their attack is more prominent along the upwind edge of the garden and also infests the plant of the same species so while monitoring take care of these areas. Side by side also checks the presence of natural enemies such as lady beetles, lacewings, syrphid larvae also notice the disease killed aphid as well. They appear in off-color, bloated and fuzzy. These natural factors also reduce the aphid population without the use of any further treatment.
Presence of ants
Aphid mostly releases honeydew so the ants are often associated with aphid population, if the ants seem on shrubs frequently then it is a clue that there is an aphid infestation present. Moreover, to protect their food source ants ward off many predators and parasites of aphid.
Water sensitive paper:
You can also determine the aphid attack by using water-sensitive paper by observing honey drop dripping off. You can monitor the aphid attack by using this method where the many plants are present with a high population of aphid.
When prevention is not effective then different control measures are adopted to protect the plants from damage.
Remove attractive weeds:
They are often collected on weeds like sowthistle and mustard.
Do not over-fertilize:
Overdose nitrogen fertilizer increases the number of green leaves which aphid love to feed upon so always use slow-release fertilizer along with organic fertilizer like compost.
Protect seedlings with floating row covers and check new transplants for aphids.
Schedule pruning to avoid infestation:
Severe pruning encourages new growth only after natural enemies are present. Encouraging a flush of recent growth too early is an invitation for an infestation.
Low impact approach:
Here are certain approaches which use to control the aphids.
Wash down plant:
Knock off aphids infested plant by spraying it through a water jet from a twig bottle or a hose for established plants. Repeat as necessary until the predator insects take over the task of killing aphids.
Dispose of infected plants:
Always remove the heavily infested leaves and stems or even the whole plants that act as a reservoir for aphids in your garden. The lose infested plant should bury in the trash or a heap of compost.
Control outdoor ants:
Ants take advantage of the honeydew secreted by the aphid and also protect them, from the natural enemies so separate the aphid infected plant from the access of ants by placing a band of sticky material around the trunk of the woody plant.
Wait them out:
Most of the aphid species cannot tolerate the high temperature of mid to late summer, especially in dry areas. You can limit their activity by cool weather.
Biological control is a method in which the natural enemies cut back the numbers of another organism through predation, parasitism and other ways. It is a very safe method of aphid management are natural enemies that kill aphids like lady beetles, lacewings and little parasitic wasps. This method provides the simplest control when the aphid population is high and may reduce the likelihood of an infestation if they are present in your garden ahead of time. There are following ways of biological control which you can choose to control the aphid population.
Plant nectar-producing flowers:
Always plant nectar-producing flowering they become an attraction for beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings that prey those soft bodies aphids.
Provide bird habitat:
Place nest boxes in the garden which ultimately become the habitat of insect-eating birds. So they are acting as a natural predator for the aphid.
When by all organic means you cannot protect your plant then use chemical control to protect your plants.
Insecticidal soap and horticulture oils:
If the insecticidal soap and horticultural oil applied thoroughly. Oils act as smothering the soft-bodied of insects and soap kill these pests by removing the outer protective coating.
Get through coverage:
Always spray this material with plenty of water on the underside of leaves, coating the top further. On top of the leaves, only one coating is needed.
These materials will execute soft-bodied beneficial insects hit by the spray. Because they consent no toxic residue, they do not harm beneficial insects that drift in after treatment.
Read the product label:
These sprays sometimes damaging to some plants, check the label before application or check it by applying on leaves rather than the whole plant.
Avoid use during hot weather:
Never apply this treatment when plants subjected to water stress condition otherwise they also damage the plant.
Use of insecticides:
If prevention measure does not take on right time or biological control not effective, then the last option is chemical control. In which you can use different insecticides according to different species of aphids and plants to control their damage. They also had an impact on the beneficial insect side by side they develop resistance among the different species of aphid. Son ensures that they would not impact the beneficial insect. BotaniGard should be applied to affected crop areas to control ongoing aphid issues. It uses Beauveria bassiana to infect aphids, spreading White Muscardine disease throughout the pest populations. It provides longer-term control than chemical sprays. Low risk to beneficial insects.
Hopefully now you are able to get rid of aphid attack and protect your plant from this biological stress because it ultimately effect the yield and quality of the end product.
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