How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

Peppers

Green Peach Aphid

Scientific name: Myzus persicae

(Reviewed 12/09, updated 11/12)

In this Guideline:


DESCRIPTION OF THE PEST

Green peach aphid is among the most common aphid species found on peppers. It may be present at any time throughout the year but is most common from March through May and September through November. Generally its color is pale green, although at times individuals may be present that are pinkish. During cool weather, individuals are usually more deeply pigmented. Both winged and wingless forms of the green peach aphid have prominent cornicles on the abdomen that are markedly swollen and clublike in appearance. The frontal tubercles at the base of the antennae are very prominent and are convergent. Winged forms of the green peach aphid have a distinct dark patch near the tip of the abdomen; wingless forms lack this dark patch.

DAMAGE

The green peach aphid transmits a number of destructive viruses in pepper including pepper potyviruses and cucumber mosaic cucumovirus. In addition, it can also damage the plant by sucking plant sap. Damaging levels are characterized by large numbers of aphids found on the underside of leaves. Extensive feeding causes plants to turn yellow and the leaves to curl downward and inward from the edges. Honeydew produced by the aphids can be a problem, especially on fresh market peppers. Aphid damage is most prominent on newer, younger leaves in the center of the plant.

MANAGEMENT

Biological and cultural controls can be useful for limiting damage from this aphid. For instance, removing old crop debris from the field will reduce sources of virus and thereby its transmission by aphids, and using reflective mulches early in the season will repel aphids from young plants. Heavy infestations on seedling and young plants may require treatment with insecticides.

Biological Control

The green peach aphid is attacked by a number of common predators, including lacewings, lady beetles, syrphid flies, and parasites, including the parasitic wasps Lysiphlebus testaceipes, Aphidius matricariae, Aphelinus semiflavus, and Diaeretiella rapae, and is susceptible to the fungus Entomophthora spp., that commonly attacks aphids. Aphid sampling should always include an evaluation of the presence and activity of natural enemies.

Cultural Control

An important factor in reducing virus spread is good field sanitation, especially the chopping or discing of crop debris immediately after harvest and destruction of alternate host plants. While field sanitation helps control the incidence and spread of viruses transmitted by green peach aphid, it does little to control the aphid itself. The spread of the virus within a geographical area can be reduced by not planting peppers near other pepper fields.

If peppers are planted near large areas of rangeland, it may not be possible to prevent the influx of green peach aphid. Studies have shown, however, that aluminum foil or silver reflective plastic mulches can be effective in repelling aphids from plants.

Organically Acceptable Methods

Biological and cultural controls and sprays of insecticidal soap or pyrethrin are acceptable for use on organically certified crops.

Monitoring and Treatment Decisions

Set out sticky traps before planting and check traps weekly for green peach aphids, along with thrips, tomato psyllid, and whiteflies. Be sure to replace traps as needed. When aphids are observed on traps, start monitoring pepper plants to determine population levels. Treatment thresholds for green peach aphid are not well established. Heavy populations can do extensive damage, particularly on seedlings or young plants. If seedlings or young plants show signs of stress because of aphid feeding, consider an insecticide application. If green peach aphids have been a problem in the past, apply imidacloprid at planting.
Common name Amount per acre** R.E.I.+ P.H.I.+
(trade name)   (hours) (days)

  Calculate impact of pesticide on air quality
The following materials are listed in order of usefulness in an IPM program. When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to impact on natural enemies and pollinators and environmental impact. Not all registered pesticides are listed. Always read the label of the product being used.
 
A. PYMETROZINE
  (Fulfill) 2.75 oz 12 0
  MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 9B
  COMMENTS: Can be applied either by soil or drip applications.
 
B. IMIDACLOPRID
  (Admire Pro) 7-14 fl oz 12 21
  MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 4A
  COMMENTS: Apply as a soil application according to label directions. Do not apply to vegetables grown for seeds.
 
C. IMIDACLOPRID
  (Provado 1.6F) 3.8 fl oz 12 0
  MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 4A
  COMMENTS: Apply as a foliar application according to label directions. Do not exceed 19.2 fl oz/acre per year.
 
D. THIAMETHOXAM
  (Actara) 2-3 oz 12 0
  MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 4A
  COMMENTS: Do not exceed 0.172 lb a.i./acre per season. Thorough coverage is important.
 
E. ACETAMIPRID
  (Assail 70WP) 0.8-1.2 oz 12 7
  MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 4A
  COMMENTS: Do not make more than 4 applications per season or exceed 0.3 lb a.i./acre per season.
 
F. DIMETHOATE 400 0.5-0.66 pt 48 0
  DIMETHOATE E267 0.75-1 pt 48 0
  MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 1B
 
G. METHOMYL*
  (Lannate SP) 0.5 lb 48 3
  MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 1A
  COMMENTS: Apply in sufficient water (5-15 gal/acre by air) to obtain thorough coverage. Apply at 5- to 7-day intervals or as needed. Do not use if psyllids are present.
 
H. ENDOSULFAN*
  (Thionex 50W) 1 lb 9 days 9
  MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 2A
  COMMENTS: Do not exceed 2 applications per season. Do not plant root crops other than carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and sugarbeet as follow-up crops. It will be unlawful to use this product after July 31, 2015 on peppers.
 
I. PYRETHRIN#
  (PyGanic 1.4EC) 16 oz 12 0
  MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 3
  COMMENTS: Begin applications when insects first appear; do not wait until the plants are heavily infested. Apply by ground sprayer in sufficient water for thorough coverage of the plants. Apply at intervals of 7 days or less. Repeat as necessary to maintain control.
 
J. INSECTICIDAL SOAP#
  (M-Pede) 2.5 oz/gal water 12 0
  MODE OF ACTION: A contact fungicide with smothering and barrier effects.
  COMMENTS: Only gives partial control (about 50%) and may cause phytotoxicity. Apply when aphids first appear or when damage first occurs. Spray to wet all infested plant surfaces. Repeat at weekly to biweekly intervals. Rotate sprays or rinse foliage to avoid more than 3 consecutive sprays.
 
** See label for dilution rates.
+ Restricted entry interval (R.E.I.) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (P.H.I.) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
* Permit required from county agricultural commissioner for purchase or use.
# Acceptable for use on organically grown produce.
1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action Group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action Group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a Group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B Group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a Group number other than 1B. Mode-of-action Group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee). For additional information, see their Web site at www.irac-online.org.

[Precautions]

PUBLICATION

[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Peppers
UC ANR Publication 3460

Insects and Mites

E. T. Natwick, UC Cooperative Extension, Imperial County
J. T. Trumble, Entomology, UC Riverside
Jose Aguiar, UC Cooperative Extension, Riverside County
Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:
W. J. Bentley, UC IPM Program, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
R. L. Coviello, UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno County
C. G. Summers, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
W. E. Chaney, UC Cooperative Extension, Monterey County
C. F. Fouche, UC Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County

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