I. Introduction: The black peach aphid (BPA)
occurs throughout the eastern U.S., but is rarely a serious pest in
most commercial orchards. This species is most likely to cause injury
in young orchards and nursery plantings.
Black Peach Aphid, Brachycaudus persicae (Passerini)
II. Hosts: Peach, plum, and other trees.
III. Description: Winged and wingless adults are shiny black and
about 1/10 inch (2 mm) in length. Nymphs are reddish-brown.
IV. Biology: Wingless forms overwinter on the roots where
feeding continues throughout the year. In early spring, some migrate
from the roots to new growth above ground and start colonies on the
leaves of twigs and shoots. Several generations of female aphids are
produced, with unmated adults giving birth to living young. In early
summer, winged forms are produced which migrate to other trees to start
new infestations. All above ground colonies usually disappear by
midsummer as wingless forms migrate to the roots to feed and overwinter.
V. Injury: Of most concern is the feeding of BPA on the roots of
young trees which can stunt growth and predispose the tree to damage
from other organisms and harsh environmental conditions. Injury from
above ground colonies is seldom serious and consists primarily of leaf
curling, yellowing, and premature drop. Some fruit distortion may
occur. If aphids are abundant, honeydew excretion may result in
spotting of leaves and fruit with a black sooty mold.
VI. Monitoring: Begin inspecting the underside of leaves for BPA
colonies as growth begins in the spring and continue until midsummer.
It is important to detect above ground colonies when they first appear,
especially on young trees, since these are easier to manage than root
infesting forms. Examine the soil for aphids at the base of trees if
monitoring has revealed any above ground colonies or if trees appear
stunted or unhealthy. No validated thresholds have been developed for
BPA. A management strategy should be implemented if one colony per tree
is found on trees up to three years old. Older trees should receive
treatment if monitoring reveals an average of more than two colonies
This is taken primarily from a chapter by H. W.
Hogmire and D. F. Polk on peach indirect pests,
reprinted with permission from Mid-Atlantic Orchard Monitoring Guide,
NRAES, 152 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca, New York 14853-5701. (607)
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