Jan 8, 2020
Be Extra Vigilant in Scouting for Aphids
Now that the days are getting longer and the temperatures a bit warmer, aphids are likely to be more common. Experience has also shown us that aphid population growth begins to increase significantly once the weather warms in January. Our local weather forecast suggests that temperatures will be in the upper 60’s with moderate nighttime lows in the mid-40’s for the next two weeks. Assuming the weather service is correct, these conditions may be ideal for aphid population growth. Similarly, with the rainfall we experienced in December, I would keep an eye for aphid pressure to start picking up on your lettuce, celery, spinach and cole crops. Previous research has shown us that aphids tend to be more abundant during mild, wet winters.
So far, aphid appear to be ahead of schedule. Aphid flights peaked in mid-December which is a little later than what is expected (see graph below
). There have been several reports of aphids showing up in both conventional and organic produce in the past 2 weeks, and at the Yuma Ag center, we have found enough green peach aphids colonizing small lettuce to initiate efficacy trials. Consequently, PCAs should be extra vigilant in scouting for aphid colonies. Be on the lookout for foxglove aphid too; they tend to be more biologically active under warmer temperatures (see Aphid ID Guide
). If a field has been treated with imidacloprid at planting, then chances are you are in pretty good shape on young produce. However, imidacloprid doesn’t last all season. Regardless of whether you find green peach or foxglove aphid, the key to effective aphid management with foliar insecticides is to initiate sprays at the time apterous (wingless) aphids begin to colonize. The action threshold is the presence of aphid colonies on 5-10% of plants sampled. Of course, this requires diligent scouting and sampling. On older lettuce, make sure you thoroughly examine developing heads/hearts. Fortunately, PCAs have many alternatives for aphid control (see Aphid Management on Desert Produce_2020)
. So, keep your eyes open for new aphid colonies and treat early to keep ahead of the populations. For more information on aphid management see: Keys to Aphid Management in Leafy Vegetables.
To contact John Palumbo go to: jpalumbo@ag.Arizona.edu