Cabbage Aphid

Brevicoryne brassicae

Cabbage Aphid, Mealy cabbage aphid, Cabbage Aphis

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Mealy cabbage aphids are sap-sucking insects with a grey, powdery and mealy appearance. They live in dense clusters on cabbages and other Brassica species.
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Traits

Can cause damage such as distortion and discolouration to plant leaves.
Aphids have the potential to carry and transmit diseases.
Is a food source for garden predators like ladybirds, parasitic wasps and lacewing.

Appearance

Active from mid-spring to summer, these insects are found on the flowering stems and foliage of host plants, feeding on the sap. Mealy cabbage aphids measure approximately 2mm in length and are grey in colour, with a powdery texture. The adult female is wingless for most of the active months, producing live offspring. Later in the season, winged adults will develop and seek new host plants as old plants become overpopulated. Towards the end of the active period, adults will lay eggs on host plants to overwinter.

Symptoms

Dense clusters of mealy cabbage aphids will be visible on host plants, find them on the flowering stems and undersides of leaves. Stems and leaves of a susceptible host plant may begin to present with discoloured patches when mealy cabbage aphids are present. Young host plants may experience stunted growth and in more extreme infestations, plant death, particularly if targeted early in the plants' life. Older host plants can tolerate a mealy cabbage aphid attack, though it looks aesthetically unpleasing, the plant will usually survive and produce a crop.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Hemiptera

Family

Aphididae

Metamorphosis

Incomplete

Distribution

Worldwide.

Biological treatment

Remove dense clusters by squashing them between your fingers and thumb. Using a fine horticultural crop mesh or fleece over the crop and digging the loose edges into the soil, will help protect target plants. Yearly crop rotation is advised to suppress overwintering eggs. You can also remove weeds and other susceptible plants in the area to reduce the risk of overwintering eggs surviving on host plants. One of the best methods of control is to encourage aphid predators such as ladybirds into your garden. A bug hotel is a great addition to any garden, it can provide suitable habitat for a range of beneficial insects.

Chemical treatment

Check availability with your local garden centre.

Attracts

Any Brassica plants.
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Knowledge and advice

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