Like spider mites, aphids are another common pest found in indoor gardens. Aphids generally feed on the upper portion of plants, including the stem and leaves using their slender mouth to extract the contents. Some aphids may also attact the root zone as well.
Inexperience Gardeners' may find it difficult to distinguish between the several species of aphids. A common i.d method is to note the aphids color. Different species of aphids vary in color including black, brow, green, red and yellow; depending on their source of food, which determine their coloring.
One method used to identify a species of aphid is by looking at their color. Different species of aphids are generally different colors, including, black, brown, green, red and yellow. Aphids coloring is generally determined by their food source or the type of plants they consume.
Unlike spider mites, controlling aphids require i.ding the species of aphid for optimal control effectiveness. Aphids are a small, water droplet-shaped pests with long legs and some may secrete a waxy substance.
Adult aphids are generally wingless, however, during spring, fall or when the population is high and food is low, they will produce wings to fly to different locations in search of other sources of food.
Similar to spider mites, aphids generally live in colonies. If you notice one aphid, it's highly likely there's much more. Aphids move slowly, however, they may reproduce rapidly -- asexually throught the year; giving birth to up to 12 nymphs daily.
Some species will only mate and produce eggs during certain seasons like fall or winter, increasing their chances of survival through extreme climate conditions.
Aphids are baby-factories and they are ready to start making babies in about 7--8 days after birth. With such a quick turnover, aphids can have their population on the high-side in little to no time. One aphid may produce 70-80 nymphs in a week; taking only two-three weeks to complete a generation cycle.
Aphids may affect plants in several ways including stunning the shoot, stem and foliage discoloration and distortion. Aphids may produce a sticky substance called "honeydew," which may turn black from the growth of mold fungus.
Aphids Virus Transmission
Some species of aphids will inject plants with a toxin that will distort its growth. Other species may cause the formation of galls or transmit viruses from one plant to another.
Squash, pumpkin, cucumber, lettuce, melon, beet, beans, potatoe are crops that are often susceptible to aphid-transmitted viruses. The viruses may cause foliage discoloration, curling of leaves or stunt growth. Aphid-transmitted viruses are difficult to control, even if their population has been greatly reduced.
Washing plants periodically with water and/or sprays of insecticides is effective. Most aphids, however, are resistant to insectcides. Insecticidal soaps and pyrethroid insecticides may also be effective.
Biological control for aphids is moderately successful at best. A small predator called midge can be effective at controlling aphid population. Using midge along with other natural enemies like the green lacewing eggs, may be effective.
* Check plants for aphids at least two time per week, especially during peak growth.
* Damage are usually more severe during warmer seasons when the temperature is between 65° to 80°F.
* Notice the problem early. Damaged plants with curled leaves may shelter the aphids from insecticides or predatory insects.
* Check for aphids on mature plants by removing several leaves for examination. Natural predators may be an indication of the presence of aphids like the lady beetle, lacewings, or the syrphid fly larvae.
* Look for disease-killed and mummified aphid skins of parasitized aphids..
This article courtesy of www.hydroponicsearch.com
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