Myzus persicae, known as the green peach aphid, greenfly, or the peach-potato aphid, is a small green aphid belonging to the order Hemiptera. It is the most significant aphid pest of peach trees, causing decreased growth, shrivelling of the leaves and the death of various tissues. It also acts as a vector for the transport of plant viruses such as cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), potato virus Y (PVY) and tobacco etch virus (TEV). Potato virus Y and potato leafroll virus can be passed to members of the nightshade/potato family (Solanaceae), and various mosaic viruses to many other food crops.
The life cycle of green peach aphid varies considerably, and largely depends on winter temperatures. The green peach aphid can complete a generation with 10 to 12 days. More than 10 generations can occur in a year and even can be as much as 30-40 generations in a favorable climate. In the early spring, the overwintering eggs hatch, and nymphs cause damage by feeding on buds, flowers, young foliage as well as stems. The worst damage is in the early summertime for the aphid breeding peak, because winged dispersants from Prunus spp where the egg of overwintering aphid stage deposit nymphs on summer hosts migrating to tobacco, potatoes and cruciferous vegetables to be harmful continuously after a few generations.
The green peach aphid is found worldwide but is less tolerant of colder climates. It overwinters as an egg, laid in trees of the genus Prunus. The aphid can benefit from the presence of greenhouses in these areas.
Adult green peach aphids appear in the summer, and are 1.8 to 2.1 mm long; the head and thorax are black, and the abdomen yellow-green with a dark patch on the back. The nymphs are at first greenish, then yellowish in color; those that become winged females may be pinkish. Wingless adults resemble nymphs and are 1.7 to 2.0 mm long.
The green peach aphid can be yellowish-green, red, or brown in color because of morphological differences influenced primarily by the host plants, nutrition, and temperature.
In the warmer months, and throughout the year in warmer climates, the green peach aphid reproduces asexually; adults produce nymphs on a wide variety of herbaceous plant material, including many vegetable crops such as cabbage and its Brassica relatives, potato and other crops of the family Solanaceae, celery, mustard, pepper, pumpkin, okra, corn, and sunflower and other flower crops. Herbaceous weeds, such as white goosefoot (Chenopodium album) and common tumbleweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) in the United States, also act as hosts. An individual can reproduce 12 days after being born and up to 20 generations may occur over the course of a year in warmer areas. As the weather cools, aphids mate and lay their tiny (0.6 mm x 0.3 mm) oval eggs in crevices of the bark of Prunus trees.
The green peach aphid is an agricultural pest across the United States and worldwide, including Australia. Although insecticides are used to control it, it develops resistance. Many of its natural enemies can be used as biological control agents in certain crops, such as ladybirds (Coccinellidae) in radish crops, and the wasp Diaeretiella rapae in broccoli.
Protecting and taking advantage of natural enemies can control the number of green peach aphids. Those enemies include: Lady beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), flower flies (Diptera: Syrphidae), lacewings (Neuroptera: mainly Chrysopidae), parasitic wasps (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Among the natural enemies of M. persicae are both predators and parasitoids, including: beetles such as the Coccinellidae, including the two-spotted ladybird (Adalia bipunctata), seven-spotted ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata), and ten-spotted ladybird (Adalia decempunctata), true bugs such as the anthocorids or pirate bugs of the genera Orius and Anthocoris; neuropterans such as green lacewings of the genera Chrysopa and Chrysoperla, hoverflies such as Syrphus, Scaeva, Episyrphus, gall midges such as Aphidoletes aphidimyza, aphid parasitoids such as Aphidiinae, and parasitic wasps of the family Braconidae. They are also colonised and killed by the insect pathogenic fungi of the order Entomophthorales.
The presence of the green peach aphid can be detrimental to the quality of the crops. In superfluous numbers, it causes water stress, wilt, and reduces the growth rate of the plant. Prolonged aphid infestation can cause an appreciable reduction in the yield of root crops and foliage crops.
The green peach aphid transmits several destructive viruses in pepper including pepper potyviruses and cucumber mosaic viruses，which causes plants to turn yellow and the leaves to curl downward and inward from the edges.
The green peach aphid can harm more than 400 species of plants in more than 50 families. By sucking plant sap, it can lose the nutrients of crops and inhibit their growth and development. Its excreta (honeydew) accumulates on the leaves of crops, encouraging mold growth and affecting their growth and quality. The aphid is also a major vector for the transport of plant viruses and is known to be capable of transmitting 78 different plant viruses.
Physical and mechanical control
One useful control measure is to take advantage of the negative taxis the green peach aphid has; hanging silver-grey film or using silver grey film nets to cover field crops can inhibit their landing and settlement. Adults can be trapped by taking advantage of their preference for sweet or sour materials. Thus, a 20:2:1 solution of water, vinegar, and brown sugar can be used to trap and kill them.
Farmers usually fight against the green peach aphid through efficacious cultural practices. Adjusting the planting layout; adjusting the sowing time and harvest time; deep plowing and winter turning over; appropriate use of crop fertilizers and timely drainage and irrigation can all be used to minimize the impact.
The application of plant secondary substances also plays a pivotal role in population control since people are increasingly putting a premium on environmental protection and sustainable agriculture.
Insect growth regulators like diflubenzuron, chlorbenzuron, and botanical pesticides like nicotine and azadirachtin also manage the orchard-pest ecology, reducing the number of the green peach aphids and the damage they cause. Similarly, the application of artificial insect pheromone or pest induction signal compounds in the field to control pests and attract natural enemies has obtained effective results: E-β-farnesene (EβF), the aphid alarm pheromone, can interfere with aphid location and feeding, and also attract a variety of aphids' natural enemies to control the aphid population.
It is commonly believed that cypermethrin, abamectin, chlorpyrifos, methylamine and imidacloprid could be the first chemical agents for aphid control in the field. Although imidacloprid is a good insecticide for the control of pests who have piercing-sucking mouthparts, frequent reuse may lead to the severe resistance of pests.
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Myzus persicae (Sulzer, 1776) – green peach aphid, puceron vert du pêcher
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