Fruit and Vegetables

Gray Apple Tree Aphid


Recognize the attacks of the Gray Apple of the Apple tree


The Gray Apple of the Apple Tree is a small insect of color between olive green and purple with two long black siphons through the body, which tends to nestle at the vegetative apexes of the fruit plant. Generally the attack of this insect does not occur singly, but in colonies. For this reason it is necessary to act promptly in order not to compromise the harvest of the fruits and avoid the deterioration of the plant. The affected trees show yellowing and leaf curl, due to the removal of vital lymph from the plant by these insects. The damage caused by aphids can also affect the small fruits, which until they reach the size of a walnut, are sensitive to the puncture of its buccal stiletto. The fruits stop their growth becoming inedible. Plants affected by aphids get covered in honeydew, a sugary substance that favors the formation of fumaggine.

Propagation



The females of the Gray Apple tree aphid lay their eggs in autumn directly on the plant. The eggs, black in color and elongated in shape, measure 0.6 mm in length and 0.3 mm in width. They can easily withstand the harsh winter temperatures, and then open up in spring, with the natural vegetative growth of the plant. In May the new winged insects appear on the plantation, which in turn will lay new eggs in November. It is estimated that each aphid can lay eggs six to nine times in a year, depending on weather conditions. Therefore it is easy to guess how fast the infestation of the entire plantation can turn out, also favored by atmospheric agents such as the wind that helps to drag and disperse the new eggs inside the plantation.

How to defend yourself from the Gray Apple of the Apple tree



Fighting this parasite, commonly called plant louse, may appear to be a complex operation due to the presence of fruits. In reality there are many biological remedies, which allow to eliminate the aphids without causing damage to the crop and without contaminating it with chemical products. However, the success of any treatment will always depend on the timeliness of the intervention. The best time to intervene is early spring, before the eggs hatch. One of the most used and among the most effective methods is the natural pyrethrum. It is a harmless substance, which does not contain any chemical element, easy and quick to apply. To eliminate also the honeydew produced by these insects, which could bring fungal diseases to the plant, it is also possible to combine potassium soap with natural pyrethrum, which is also free of toxic substances.

Prevention



Although it is possible and fast to eliminate the Gray Apple tree aphid from plantations, prevention remains the best cure. The first rule to follow is to create an unfavorable environment for their development. These insects prefer the temperate and dry climate, so scarce irrigations can favor their presence. To make their appearance more difficult it will be necessary to provide regular watering, lightly vaporizing the leaves as well. For vaporization it is advisable to use an infusion of nettle, which succeeds in intoxicating the aphid respiratory system and thus destroying them before proliferation, since the first appearance often invisible to the naked eye. Nettle is particularly effective due to its high content of salicylic acid and formic acid. It is sufficient to infuse one kilogram of fresh plant without roots every ten liters of water until the liquid turns dark and no longer produces foam (about seven / eight days). A liter of product thus obtained must be diluted in twenty liters of water and used for three days to spray the leaves of the plant.