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Green Peach Aphid
The green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulzer), is found throughout the world, including all areas of North America, where it is viewed as a pest principally due to its ability to transmit plant viruses. In addition to attacking plants in the field, green peach aphid readily infests vegetables and ornamental plants grown in greenhouses. This allows high levels of survival in areas with inclement weather, and favors ready transport on plant material. When young plants are infested in the greenhouse and then transplanted into the field, fields will not only be inoculated with aphids but insecticide resistance may be introduced. These aphids also can be transported long distances by wind and storms.
The adult is shield-shaped with an overall dull green color. The eyes are dark red or black. Small black dots can be found along the sides of the abdomen. The wings completely cover the abdomen. The males average 12.1 mm in length and females 13.15 mm in length. Copulation may last a few minutes to a few days. Females can lay eggs three to four weeks after becoming adults. The average female lays one egg mass but production of two egg masses in not uncommon. A female southern green stink bug could lay as many as 260 eggs over her life span.
Life cycle:The life cycle varies considerably, depending on the presence of cold winters. provide a good review of the life cycle. Development can be rapid, often 10 to 12 days for a complete generation, and with over 20 annual generations reported in mild climates. Where suitable host plants cannot persist, the aphid overwinters in the egg stage on Prunus spp. In the spring, soon after the plant breaks dormancy and begins to grow, the eggs hatch and the nymphs feed on flowers, young foliage, and stems. After several generations, winged dispersants from overwintering Prunus spp. deposit nymphs on summer hosts. In cold climates, adults return to Prunus spp. in the autumn, where mating occurs, and eggs are deposited. All generations except the autumn generation culminating in egg production are parthenogenetic (non-sexual).
Nymphs initially are greenish, but soon turn yellowish, greatly resembling viviparous. He reported four instars in this aphid, with the duration of each averaging 2.0, 2.1, 2.3, and 2.0 days, respectively. Females gave birth to offspring six to 17 days after birth, with an average age of 10.8 days at first birth. The length of reproduction varied considerably, but averaged 14.8 days. The average length of life was about 23 days, but this was under caged conditions where predators were excluded. The daily rate of reproduction averaged 1.6 nymphs per female. The maximum number of generations observed annually during these studies was determined to be 20 to 21, depending on the year.
Damage:The major damage caused by green peach aphid is through transmission of plant viruses. Indeed, this aphid is considered by many to be the most important vector of plant viruses throughout the world. Nymphs and adults are equally capable of virus transmission (Namba and Sylvester 1981), but adults, by virtue of being so mobile, probably have greater opportunity for transmission. Both persistent viruses, which move through the feeding secretions of the aphid, and non-persistent viruses, which are only temporary contaminants of aphid mouthparts, are effectively transmitted. Some of the particularly damaging diseases include potato leafroll virus and potato virus Y to Solanaceae, beet western yellows and beet yellows viruses to Chenopodiaceae, lettuce mosaic virus to Compositae, cauliflower mosaic and turnip mosaic viruses to Cruciferae, and cucumber mosaic and watermelon mosaic viruses to Cucurbitaceae. A discoloration in potato tubers, called net necrosis, occurs in some potato varieties following transmission of potato leafroll.
Green Peach Aphid
Control:Aphid population levels are heavily influenced by temperature, rainfall, numbers of natural enemies present and pesticides application. Aphid outbreaks are most frequent in hot dry weather. While heavy rains will often reduce the aphid population below the economic threshold. When pesticides are applied care should be taken to select pesticides that are not damaging to natural enemies of aphids. Because aphids reproductive rate is greater than their natural enemies, incorrect pesticide use may contribute to aphid outbreaks by removing the natural enemies. Fields of peppers and Cole crops should be scouted for the green peach aphid throughout the year especially during hot dry weather and 5 days to a week after a pesticide application.
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