Hyalopterus pruni Geoffroy Mealy plum aphid

This aphid is a generally common pest of damson and plum; infestations also occur on certain wild species of Prunus, especially P. spinosa. Vast numbers of aphids often coat the underside of the expanded leaves; colonies may also spread along the young shoots. Unlike the leaf-curling plum aphid, Brachycaudus helichrysi (p. 109), mealy plum aphid does not cause leaf distortion, but infested foliage often becomes yellow and may drop prematurely; honeydew excreted by the aphids is also a problem, enabling sooty moulds to develop. Attacks sometimes also occur on almond, apricot and peach trees.

BIOLOGY

Overwintering eggs, laid on the young shoots of Prunus in the autumn, hatch in the spring. Colonies then develop on the primary hosts, numbers at first remaining relatively low but later increasing rapidly. In June and July, colonies are often extremely populous and they may remain active into August. Winged migrants are produced from late June or early July onwards and these fly to various summer hosts, including Phragmites communuis. A return migration to primary hosts occurs in the autumn.

DESCRIPTION

Aptera 1.5-2.6mm long, elongate, mainly pale green but dark-mottled and liberally coated with white, mealy wax; antennae, legs and siphunculi dusky-tipped; siphunculi short, apically rounded; cauda finger-like (Fig. 191e).

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