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Melon Cotton Aphids



P_melcottaph

Melon Cotton Aphids

Usually appear in

Spring to Autumn.


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Caused By:-     The species of Aphids Aphis gossypii

Description

The Melon Cotton Aphid(Aphis gossypii) is an important pest of cotton and is also called the cotton aphid or Melon Aphid and is one of the smaller aphids about 1.5mm.
It is just one of over 500 different species of aphids some of which are specific to one type of plants.
Melon Cotton Aphids has a wide range of host and ornamental as well as vegetable crops that may be infested. Some vegetable hosts include asparagus, beans, beet, cowpeas, cucurbits, eggplant, okra, spinach, and tomato. Among cucurbits, cucumber and watermelon are most likely to be infested, followed by squash and pumpkin.
For the Melon Cotton aphid there are two kinds of hosts, primary and secondary. In Autumn, aphids feed upon primary plants, such as Catalpa bignonioides and rose of sharon, where they mate and lay overwintering eggs. When the egg are first deposited, the eggs are yellow, but they soon become shiny black in colour.
Melon Cotton aphids feeding on secondary plants such as Melons give birth to live young. Therefore infestations can build up very quickly. In spring, winged forms usually infest new plants, both primary and secondary, and the females produce live young. The young vary in colour from tan to grey or green, and often are marked with dark head, thorax and wing pads, and with the distal portion of the abdomen dark green.
The body is dull in colour because it has wax secretions. When it occurs in large numbers on young leaves it causes significant feeding damage.
These aphids like all other aphids suck the sap from the plant and weaken it. It combines this damage with excreting honeydew onto lower leaves, which become dark with sooty moulds growing in the resulting sticky film.
These moulds reduce the plant's ability to photosynthesise.
Sometimes ants farm the aphids to produce the sugary excretions by protecting and moving them to other parts of the plant. The usual symptom of their presence is distorted, weak growth of leaves and shoots. Aphids are usually found on the youngest leaves and shoots.
Aphids give birth to live young and therefore infestations are quickly spread to other parts of the plant. Aphids also carry viruses after the winged adults, which are produced in the autumn and or when the colony gets large, have sucked on a virus infected plant.
Picture from Wikimedia Commons.
See also these other aphids Aphids, Blackfly, Cypress, Green Spruce, Honeysuckle, Juniper, Lettuce Root, Lupins, Mealy Cabbage, Mealy Plum, Peach, Rose, Rosy Apple, Wooly.


Control

Products containing the following chemical:- Bifenthrin, Imidacloprid, Pyrethroids and Pyrethrin ingredients are all effective on Mealy Plum aphid, but remember that these broad spectrum insecticides which will kill beneficial insects as well as aphids.
The introduction of some types of flowering daisy-like flowers, yellow flowers and in particular, the poached egg plant Limnanthes douglasii will attract natural aphid predators such as ladybirds, hoverflies, lacewings and certain wasps which will happily devour these pests throughout the year.
Physically blasting the aphids from the leaves with a jet of water may be a good way, and there are numerous organic pest control sprays available, the majority of which contain natural fatty acids which block the aphids breathing holes, causing death by suffocation. Unfortunately, these liquids can also knock out the beneficial insects you have worked hard to attract, so consider your options before reaching for the spray gun.
If aphids are a chronic problem treatment in early dormancy in the autumn is a very effective way to manage this pests.



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