Despite their common name, Green Peach Aphids (Myzus persicae) can thrive on a wide variety of plants, especially those grown in greenhouses.
Some examples of plants they target include:
- Mustard Greens
- Cole Crops
These pests are found throughout the United States and many parts of the world. This article describes this aphid pest and shares tips to help you keep the Green Peach Aphid under control. Read on to learn more.
What Is the Green Peach Aphid?
Green Peach Aphids differ somewhat from other aphids in appearance. These tiny insects are about a 16th of an inch long. Wingless females are pale, yellowish-green.
The winged aphids are also yellowish-green, but they have a dark dorsal spot. Both winged and wingless Green Peach Aphids have small protrusions (cornicles) in the rear.
The creatures are a bit smaller in the nymph form but are also pale, yellowish-green in color. The nymphs have three dark green lengthwise abdominal lines.
The lifecycle of this type of aphid is quite complex and goes through five morphological stages and two separate behavioral forms.
In the wintertime, the eggs and the wingless females can be found sheltering in the buds of their host plants, most typically peach buds but also wild and domestic plants, as noted above. When the eggs hatch in the springtime, nymphs emerge and become stem mothers. These produce live young.
This goes on for several generations, and then early in the summer, winged adults appear and fly away from the host plants. The winged aphids do not damage host plants at all. Instead, they move into other plants (e.g., crops or weeds) surrounding the host plants. Then, in the autumn, they return to the targeted host.
What Damage Does Green Peach Aphids Cause?
Winged Green Peach Aphids carry plum pox. This disease devastates stone fruit, such as peaches, nectarines, apricots, and cherries.
They also carry:
- Potato Leaf Roll
- Lettuce Mosaic
- Potato Virus Y
- Beet Yellows
- Beet Mosaic
The non-winged aphids do the same type of damage as most types of aphids. They suck sap from the hosts plant tissues and excrete sweet, sticky honeydew, which attracts ants and causes the growth of black sooty mold.
In small numbers, the wingless adult aphids don’t do a great deal of damage to plants; however, in large numbers, their sap-sucking will weaken plants. Additionally, the growth of black, sooty mold can block the sun and interfere with photosynthesis.
As plants become weaker, they become susceptible to being preyed upon by other pests and succumbing to disease.
How to Control the Green Peach Aphid
When you see Green Peach Aphid infestation symptoms, you may be tempted to spray with a powerful insecticide, but this would be a mistake.
These pests are even more problematic in settings where broad-spectrum foliar insecticide is used because these insecticides tend to kill off natural predators.
Prevention is the best treatment against Green Peach Aphids. To keep them under control, you should inspect your trees, gardens, and surrounding areas weekly throughout the growing season to look for signs of the pests as described above.
In a healthy, natural environment, Green Peach Aphids and other pests can be well controlled by natural enemies and predators such as:
- Leather Wing Beetles
- Syrphid Fly Larvae
In heavy aphid populations, neonicotinoid compounds can be quite effective against them, but keep in mind that these substances are also quite damaging to beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies.
Remember that it is always wise to contact your local county agricultural extension office for advice on controlling garden pests in your area.