Aphids Pest Control
- Aphids; often called plant lice are soft bodied pear-shaped insects generally less than 1/8 inch long. Their color varies according to species; however the common ones are usually green, yellow or black.
- The most distinguishing feature in the identification of aphids is the two short tubes which extend from the end of their body and are partly responsible for secretions of a fluid thought to be useful as a defense mechanism.
- Thousands of species of aphids are found all around the world, but only 8 are commonly found in Florida. Those are the cotton aphid, the crapemyrtle aphid, the green peach aphid, the oleander aphid, the podocarpus aphid, the rose aphid, the spiraea aphid and the yellow rose aphid.
Aphids and Turfgrass Pest Control
- Most aphids are wingless but when colonies become overcrowded winged aphids are produced and these establish new colonies. Except for the adult crape myrtle aphids which are all winged.
- Aphids are unlike most insects in two ways: In Florida, almost all are females which reproduce without mating and give birth to living young. Aphids have the ability to reproduce rapidly. Each female aphid produces 50 to 100 daughters during her life span, and each daughter can begin reproducing in 6 to 8 days.
- Most species of aphids feed on only specific types of plants, while others will feed on many variety of plant. Aphid populations are largest during the spring, due to new growth, while some aphid species are active all year.
Aphids Life Cycle and Identification
Aphids are commonly found on the stems, undersides of leaves and on flower buds, they have piercing-sucking mouthparts and cause damage by sucking the plant juices. However, their ability to transmit plant virus diseases may be more harmful than any direct feeding damage. Aphids seem to be especially troublesome on plants that are in shaded areas. Their feeding causes the leaves to curl and flower buds to become hardened, causing the flowers to be distorted. Aphids excrete large amounts of honeydew, which is an excellent medium for the growth of sooty mold, which, in turn retards the growth of the plant.
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