As a farmer, one of the things that you must readily guide against is the infestation of pests in your farm.
Pests are always known to be destructive organisms and are capable of reducing the quantity and quality of your farm produce.
Of all the pests that invade farms, aphids have been recognized as a major culprit.
You sure don’t want to experience the infestation of pests on your farm, do you? Of course, it’s obvious your answer is no.
However, sometimes aphid’s attacks are entirely out of your control.
Thus, the only option you have in curtailing them in commercial farming is through the use of insecticide for aphids.
We have written a comprehensive guide that contains everything you need to know about aphids.
From how you can understand the cause of aphid attack to the best pesticides for aphid control, you are surely in for a complete guide on ways you can protect your farm from these sucking insects with insecticides.
What you need to know about aphid
Aphid belongs to the family of Aphidoidea. Aphids are a sap- sucking insect even though they of different colors, their females are mostly known to be flightless which the main job is to reproduce younger ones known as nymph without the involvement of the male aphids. One of the main reasons why aphids’ constitute more threat to the farmer is because of the continuous increase in their number.
Aphids have found their name among the most destructive insect pest on cultivated plants, so to treat or control them, you have to make sure whatever you will use to do them must be effective and efficient.
Aside from sap-sucking, aphids are known to act as vectors for plants viruses.
They also ensure that they destroy ornamental plants by depositing honeydew which later results to the growth of sooty molds. Because of their incessant increase in numbers, they tend to do more harm than any other pests.
What Triggers Aphids Attack
Research has made it known that aphids tend to attack plants that lack vigor are going through tough times due to one reason or the other.
It is revealed that any plants with glutathione (a chemical that is produced by struggling plants) are victims of aphids because of the benefits some pests like aphids derive from glutathione.
So as a farmer that wants to prevent or control aphids, it is essential for you to know what can cause a plant to be stressed.
Some of the reasons why a plant can be stressed are:
- Lack of sufficient sunlight or water.
- Extreme pruning of shrubs or trees which leads enhance the growth of side shoots succulent suckers.
- An unplanned transplanting which tends to stress plants.
- Use of some pesticides which are in favor of aphids.
- The use of nitrogen-rich fertilizer can also lead to the plant being stressed.
- Planting inappropriately in a not so friendly climate conditions.
Apart from the reasons for a plant being stressed listed above, different kinds of birds also help in transporting aphids.
It is known that pest populations rebound faster than another attack can ever think of.
The aphid has the power to establish themselves if unmolested.
How to Identify an Aphid
Knowing how an aphid looks like it will go long in preventing or controlling it.
The aphid is said to be ¼ inch which makes it nearly invisible to the naked eye.
Aphids are of different colors ranging from white to black, yellow, light green, brown, pink, gray and so on.
They have pear-shaped bodies with long antennae and have a waxy or woolly coating.
Most aphids have two short tubes projecting from their hind end.
The short tubes are known as cornicles.
Most aphids which are grown up are usually wingless, but in case of where there are a lot of aphids located in a place, they will develop wings with time.
They use this wing in transporting themselves when they see that the plant they are through with the sucking of a plant.
Aphids mostly move in large groups, but there are some occasional times which you can see them in small groups and even single.
There are different kinds of aphid species; some are bean aphids, green peach aphids, potato aphids, woolly wood aphids, cabbage aphids, rosy apple aphid and so on.
How Aphids Operate
Aphids feed on plant juices.
Though the area they attack differs depending on their species, but most of the areas they attack are the stem, flowers, buds, leaves roots and flowers.
The main aim is of most aphids is to derive whatever benefits they can get in a plant and when through, find a new plant.
They don’t stay long feasting on a plant because they prefer young and succulent plants.
Most aphids have different ways in which they operate, some of which are:
- Aphids love to hide under leaves, so when checking for aphids, be sure to find them there.
- They feed on flower or fruit until they become deformed or distorted.
- The aphids discharge honeydewas waste when they have sucked a lot of sap. This honeydew also serves as food for other insects like ants.
- The honeydew can enhance fungi growth known as sooty mold. This makes the leaves or branches to appear black.
- They are also known to transmit viruses between plants and which makes another insect such as ladybugs to prey on them.
- When aphid feeds on root or leaves, they tend to cause gall to form on it.
- They mostly feed on the sap of phloem vessels in plants. Once a phloem tissue is punctured, it makes the sap which is under pressure to be forced into aphid’s food canal.
- They also feed on xylem sap. In recent research, it was discovered that more xylem sap than expected and this is because they use xylem sap to replenish their water balance. Xylem sap when under negative hydrostatic pressure requires active sucking. This makes it easier for the aphids to feed on xylem sap to get rehydrated.
Hazardous Effects of Aphid on Agricultural Produce
Aphids tend to have a lot of effect plants since research has made it known that they are one of the most destructive pests.
Some of the effects aphids have on plants are;
- Aphids feed on phloem sap till they are removed, resulting in twitching of the leaves.
It also enhances metabolic imbalance, and in some cases, it leads to leaf loss which will undoubtedly reduce the quality and quantity of such plants during the harvest period.
- Through the transmission of viruses, aphids attack leads to a decline in final production, most especially, a plant with little or no tolerance or resistance to the kind of virus discharged by aphids.
And since aphids are known to transmit dozens of viruses within few seconds especially the winged aphids, this makes it a lot deadlier.
- The honeydew discharged by aphids gives room for fungi and also attracts other ants. These fungi shed the plant from taking in the needed light.
This and lots more are the harmful effects aphids have on agricultural produce.
How to Prevent Aphid Attack
You are extremely fortunate as a farmer if you have not recorded a case of aphid invasion on your agricultural produce.
Thus, to prevent aphids from attacking your farm, it is therefore imperative to look for ways and have a plan in motion that will help you to deter aphids.
These are some of how you can prevent aphids attack on your crops.
- The first thing you can do to prevent aphids is to pay close attention to your agricultural produce.
So if there is a sign of aphids, then you will be able to know on time and to remove them any invested branches or spray them with water before they form a colony.
- Neem oil or insecticidal soap will go a long way to guide against aphids. But make sure to follow the specified instruction.
- Spraying of cold water on the leaves will also prevent aphids from invading your agricultural produce.
- Spraying of horticultural oil to eliminate overwintering aphid’s egg.
- Another way you can also prevent aphids from attacking your agricultural produce is through companion planting.
- Garlic and chives also repel aphids especially when planted near lettuce, rose bushes and peas.
- You can also use plant onions to avert aphids since they dislike the smell produced by the members of the onion family.
- Over-fertilizing your plant is a sure way to welcome aphids because they love to feed on plants with a high level of nitrogen soft and lush growth. So to prevent them, have it in mind that you must not over fertilize your farm.
- One of the primary beneficiaries of aphids is ants, so when you see ants lurking around your plants, be sure that there is the presence of aphids.
Different methods of controlling aphids
Aphids can be controlled using two different approaches. They are:
- The Use of the organic approach
- The use of an inorganic method (chemical)
The Organic Method
The natural ways focus on the usage of non-chemical substance to control or stop aphids’ invasion.
It is the use of natural remedies in curbing the attack of aphids, and it focuses on the use of tools and equipment that will minimize native pollinators and other microorganisms that are beneficial to the plant.
There are numerous organic ways which you can use on controlling aphids, some of which are;
- By spraying with a strong blast of water from the hose.
- Natural repellant:You can also control aphids by spraying homemade tomato leaf or garlic spray. Though this kind of method needs you always to reapply it when another infestation occurs.
- Insects:You can purchase some insect which is known to always see aphids as their food — insects such as lacewings, ladybugs, damsel bugs, and parasitic wasps.
- Biological insecticides: Using biological insecticides will also go a long way in controlling aphids.
- Mixing of dish soap with water: Add some tablespoonful of washing detergent in a small container of lukewarm water and use a sponge or spray bottle to apply the mixture to plants where aphids have invaded. The soap will dissolve the waxy protective coating from aphids’ body, which will result in dehydration and eventually killing them.
- Bird eating bugs: Another tested method is through the usage of birds that eat bugs. Birds like chickadees, wrens, and titmice are some of the birds you can use. You can employ the service of these birds by offering them food and housing space.
- Natural attractive substance:There are some substances which serve as aphids’ favorite foods. Some of these natural attractants are zinnias, dahlias, cosmos, and asters. Having is in exchange for the peace of your farm is surely a good deal for you.
- Alcohol:The usage of isopropyl alcohol is also one of the best ways you can control aphids organically.
Insecticide for Aphids Control
Although all the above-listed methods are moderately effective against the control of Aphids, however, they are not feasible for use in commercial farming.
Thus, there is a call for a more realistic method of preventing and controlling Aphids attack on field crops.
This brings us to the alternative method – the use of pesticides for aphids.
Definition of Pesticides
Pesticides are chemical compounds or substances with the ability to control, prevent, destroy, and repel any organisms considered to be a pest.
Examples of pesticides include nematicide, herbicide, insecticide, fungicide, defoliants, avicides, etc.
We are going to be focusing solely on pesticides for the control of aphids, which is in this case an insecticide
Classification of Pesticides
There is a various classification of pesticides based on the compound chemistry, their effects on the pest, the pest they target and how they work.
Let’s examine classification based on pesticide chemistry.
The first category in our list is the organophosphate, also known as OP.
Members of the OP group have phosphorus in their molecules, and they are mainly used for vectors control.
However, the use of OP has decreased drastically over the year due to resistance developed by pests.
Also, Op’s potential for non-target effects and development of other options are the contributing factors to its usage.
Organophosphates are considered to be risky to humans and livestock than other pesticides.
They possess similar structure to organophosphates.
However, the difference is whereas organophosphates are derived from phosphoric acid, carbamates are derived from carbamic acid.
Carbamates group work effectively for the control of insect pests such as fleas, aphid, bee, wasp and many more.
Also, certain carbamates are used as herbicides, and they also pose a risk to humans and livestock
Pyrethrum exists as an organic insecticide extracted from the Chrysanthemum plant.
The pyrethrum possesses about 30 members in the group, although most of them are addressed with the common name.
If you want to derive pyrethrum from Chrysanthemum, the first thing is to pluck the flower, then grind it to release pyrethrins, the active ingredient for the insecticide.
Other active constituents of this organic pesticide include pyrethrin I and pyrethrin II with small doses of jasmolines and cinerins which are all related.
Pyrethrum is toxic to virtually all insect pest and offers a certain degree of toxicity to fish.
However, they are less toxic to birds and mammal.
Pyrethrum is non-persistence, and sufficient exposure to the sunlight will break it down.
Thus, it is regarded as one of the safest when it comes to usage near human food.
They are chemically similar to pyrethrins based on the molecules they produce.
Like pyrethrum, pyrethroids are non-persistent and are easily bio-degraded on exposure to sunlight.
Their effect lasts only for a couple of days.
Many generations of pyrethroids have been developed with the newest formulation that is highly effective even when you apply them just a small dose.
Pyrethroids share a similar mode of action as pyrethrum, and they are often used as a mixture with piperonyl butoxide (PBO) which may not necessarily improve their effectiveness.
Pyrethroids kill a wide range of insect pests such as aphid, whiteflies, and even mosquitoes.
The use of pyrethrins and pyrethroids has gained massive recognition, and they are more used than conventional pesticide like organophosphates.
- Microbial pesticides
They are derived from microorganisms such as bacteria.
This pesticide destroys pests from the toxin released as a result of microbial activities.
Example of pesticide that belongs to this group is the combination of toxin from Bti and live Bacillus sphaericus (Bs).
The compound derived can destroy a host of insect pests which include aphid and larvae of blackfly.
Most of the pesticides belonging to microbial group offer more selectivity than the biochemical pesticides
Active Ingredients in Pesticide Brands for Aphid Control
There are several brands of pesticides that can control aphids and the other insect pest of which Awiner is a highly effective brand.
Some of the active ingredients in the control of aphids include;
Bifenthrin contains pyrethroids which are synthetic compounds manufactured to emulate pyrethrins, a toxic substance extracted from chrysanthemum flowers.
Bifenthrin is used in agriculture crops of vegetable, fruits, and other crop plants.
It can also be used in attacking aphids in residential settings
Bifenthrin belongs to a broad-spectrum insecticide.
It works by interfering with a nerve cell’s ability to send a standard signal by blocking open tiny gates.
These cells require quick opening and closing to function normally.
· Essential Pesticide Concentrate on Aphids
This is derived by combining the active ingredients such as Vanillin 88.0%, Rosemary oil 10.0%, Peppermint oil 02.0%, and other ingredients like Wintergreen and Mineral Oil.
This effective combination is also active against other pests which include the bedbug.
It is also approved for usage near aquatic areas and boat docks.
It acts as a full knockdown pesticide and comes in various handy containers.
This concentrate offers a broad spectrum effect that destroys pests by interrupting their neurotransmitter function which creates an imbalance and eventually kills the pests.
It is a toxic substance made from synthetic pyrethroid used as an insecticide in large-scale commercial agricultural farming.
Cypermethrin acts as a highly-effective neurotoxin in insect pest include aphid and the other flies.
It can also be used for protection against pests affecting the consumer products for domestic consumption.
Cypermethrin is bio-degradable in soil and plants, but its effects can extend for weeks when applied to indoor inert surfaces.
It readily decomposes when exposed to sunlight.
It can be used in the control of aphids in farms that contain crops such as potato, tomato, melon, vegetable, fruits and many more.
Permethrin is also a broad spectrum insecticide with a quick knockdown of targeted pests which include aphids.
It’s used in a wide range of crops such as vegetables, ornaments, and other field crops.
It has a long-lasting effect which can extend to 90 days in greenhouses and indoor usage.
For outdoor plants, it can last up to 30 days
This is a newly developed insecticide, and it’s the only representative of the pyridine azomethines – a recently discovered class of insecticide. Pymetrozine is highly effective against sucking insects such as aphids and whiteflies in field crops with cotton, citrus, vegetables, ornamentals, hop, deciduous fruits, rice, and others.
Aphids attack can be disastrous, and unless you are a gardener with a plot of land or a homeowner with a backyard garden, then you have no better option but to use pesticides for aphids.
You can explore some of the quality brands you can trust to give you the best result. They are highly effective, affordable and supply a broad spectrum of insecticides for aphids.
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