NC State Extension Publications

Description and Biology

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The green peach aphid, Myzus persicae, is light to dark green or pink, with red eyes. Three dark lines run down its back. Adults may or may not be develop wings. Nymphs are wingless and resemble adults. The green peach aphid is a pest all over the world. In the northern United States, green peach aphids overwinter as eggs on Prunus spp, but in the Southeast, no eggs are laid. Instead, female aphids give birth to young females during the growing season. Up to 30 generations occur each year. A complete life cycle may be as short at 12 days.

Green peach aphids on chrysanthemum.

Green peach aphids on chrysanthemum.

Closeup of adult, nymphs, exuviae

Closeup of adult, nymphs, exuviae.

Some green peach aphids develop wings.

Some green peach aphids develop wings.

Green peach aphid giving birth.

Green peach aphid giving birth.

Green peach aphid giving birth.

Green peach aphid giving birth.

Host Plants

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Its high reproductive rate and resistance to pesticides make the green peach aphid a formidable pest in the greenhouse and to a lesser extent in the landscape, garden, and field crops. Although damage per aphid is often not serious, these aphids reproduce so rapidly that serious harm can be done in a short time. Green peach aphids suck plant sap and contaminate the host with honeydew and cast skins. Sooty molds sometimes grow in the honeydew. Some hospitals refuse to allow cut flowers in patients' rooms because of the mess caused by aphids. Green peach aphids are also the vectors of a number of plant viruses including tobacco, tomato, lettuce, dahlia, canna, and bee mosaics as well as tuber spindle, rugose mosaic, and leaf roll diseases of potato.

Residential Recommendation

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Ladybugs, lacewings, syrphid flies, damsel bugs, wasps, and parasitic fungi tend to regulate green peach aphid populations outdoors. Wind, rain, and splashing mud also help check aphid populations outside. The green peach aphid is resistant to many insecticides, including pyrethroids, so use soap or horticultural oil for control. Because some ornamental plants can be somewhat sensitive to pesticides, be sure to water plants thoroughly before spraying them. Treat them in early morning or in late evening so that the pesticide residue is dry before the plants are exposed to direct sunlight.

References

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For assistance with a specific problem, contact your local Cooperative Extension Center.

This Factsheet has not been peer reviewed.

Author

Professor Emeritus
Entomology and Plant Pathology

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Publication date: Jan. 5, 2013
Revised: Sept. 20, 2019

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