Leaf-Curling Plum Aphid

Brachycaudus helichrysi

Leaf-Curling Plum Aphid , Peach Leaf-Curl Aphid , Plum Aphid , Small Plum Aphid , Thistle Aphid

Photo by Jesse Rorabaugh (CC0)
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A close up photograph of a Brachycaudus helichrysi leaf-curling plum aphid on a flower to scale
Photo by Jesse Rorabaugh (CC0)
1 of 4
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Deal with aphids organically: Method 4
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Deal with aphids organically: Method 2
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Leaf-curling plum aphid is a sap-sucking insect that forms dense colonies on the soft young growth of plants. As a result of their feeding, infected leaves begin to appear distorted, specifically during April and May. While feeding the aphids secrete toxic saliva back into the leaves of plants causing them to curl. Plants can retain the scars from the infestation, which can sometimes be visible throughout the rest of the year. Despite this, the heaviest of infestations have a small impact on the crop itself.

Traits

These aphids can result in leaf curl in plum plants.
In the worst case scenario, there may be a slight decrease in yield and some premature dropping of fruit.

Appearance

Adult Brachycaudus helichrysi is variable in colour. They can range from yellow to green, pink and white. They can also be black with green abdomens with variable black markings. They're only about 2mm. Nymphs are typically smaller than adults. They also lack wings and normally are pale green or yellow.

Symptoms

Dense groupings of the aphids can rapidly develop on soft young tips, flowering stems and the underside of the younger leaves. The aphids often attract ants, which collect the sugary honeydew that aphids excrete. When the back bean aphid attacks broad beans the plants pod formation will be reduced and yields affected.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Hemiptera

Family

Aphididae

Metamorphosis

Incomplete

Distribution

These aphids are distributed worldwide.

Biological treatment

The introduction of ladybirds, hoverfly larvae, lacewing larvae and several parasitic wasps in a garden situation will reduce numbers. Biological control is successful in a protective environment. Recent research has shown the benefits that are provided by earwigs. Providing shelter for insects like earwigs in the garden may help to increase their numbers. Unfortunately, aphid infestations can often build up on plants before the natural enemies are active in sufficient numbers, so natural predators will only have limited control success. It's been suggested that most infestations are tolerable, with yields seldom impacted. However, if you believe your infestation is heavy, please read on to our chemical alternatives.

Chemical treatment

Only smaller plants can be effectively treated. Chemical treatments are unsuitable for plum trees. Overwintering eggs within the nooks of bark can be treated with plant oil winter washes - the whole area must be covered for good control. Spring sprays aren't required if this option is sought. Insect sprays are ineffective when the leaves have curled. If a more persistent chemical option is sought, check with your local garden centre and please take care to follow the manufacturers' instructions. Check with your local regulating body for guidance on active ingredients and their authorisation for use. Plants that are in flower should never be sprayed due to the danger they pose to pollinators.

Attracts

These aphids are attracted to fruits including plum, peach, damsons and sloe.

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