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Myzus persicae (Sulzer)

Green Peach Apid
Hosts Distribution Damage Biology Behavior Management Reference


Ronald F. L. Mau, Extension Entomologist

Jayma L. Martin Kessing, Educational Specialist

Department of Entomology

Honolulu, Hawaii


The green peach aphid has many host plants. Agricultural crops include: broccoli, burdock, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, Chinese broccoli, daikon, eggplant, flowering white cabbage, green beans, head cabbage, lettuce, macadamia, mustards cabbage, papaya, peppers, sweet potato, tomato, watercress and zucchini. This aphid also attacks many ornamental crops such as carnation, chrysanthemum, flowering white cabbage, poinsettia and rose.


These aphids have a worldwide distribution. They were first reported on Oahu in 1910 and are now present on all islands within the State.


On cole crops this species is usually present on the underside of the oldest leaves. It is common on seedlings, young plants, and lower leaves of older plants. Green peach aphids are seldom found in the heads of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, or Brussels sprouts (Flint, 1985).

Aphids feed by sucking sap from their hosts. Economic damage can be high on lettuce. Seedlings or transplants of lettuce and other cole crops can be stunted by the attack of large populations of this aphid. Small populations of green peach aphid can be tolerated by the removal of outer leaves; the lettuce head can not be salvaged with large populations. Green peach aphids rarely cause economic losses on older cabbage and related crops. On fruit crops, extensive feeding causes distortion of young leaves and shoots and premature dropping of fruit.

Aphids vector many plant viruses. This is potentially the greatest consequence of aphid infestations. The green peach aphid vectors virus diseases in more than 30 plant families, including beans, sugar beet, sugarcane, Brassica sp., Citrus, and tobacco (Hill, 1983). Of particular concern in Hawaii are the turnip mosaic virus, and papaya ring spot virus. The green peach aphid transmits both P (PRSV-P) and W (PRSV-W) strains of Papaya Ringspot Virus. PRSV-P infects papaya. PRSV-W does not infect papaya, but does infect cucurbits. PRSV-W is also called Watermelon Mosaic Virus 1 (WMV-1). Turnip Mosaic Virus is also vectored by this aphid. Both apterae (wingless) and alate (winged) aphids are able to transmit the virus but more transmissions are obtained with wingless forms (Toba, 1962).


There are many generations of this aphid throughout the year in Hawaii. In Hawaii the average life span is about 18 days. The life span represents the period from birth of the nymphs to the death of the adult. Longevity may be affected by temperature, type of life cycle (egg laying or live births), and plant host. Studies in cooler temperatures report the life cycle lasting up to 50 days (Toba, 1964).

Reproduction in Hawaii does not involve mating and egg laying. Females give birth to live female nymphs. As a consequence of this type of reproduction, populations are composed solely of females and there are no males. Since winters in Hawaii are mild, there is no need for an overwintering egg stage.


In temperate regions, these aphids overwinter during the egg stage. The shiny black eggs are often laid on the bark of fruit trees. No eggs are found in Hawaii.


Immature aphids are called nymphs. They are pale yellowish-green in color with three dark lines on the back of the abdomen that are not present on the adult. In Hawaii there are four nymphal stages. Nymphal development is completed in 6 to 11 days (Toba, 1964).


The wingless adult aphids vary in color from green to pale yellow. Winged adults, are green with black or dark brown markings on their abdomens. Adults are small to medium sized aphids from 1/25 to 1/12 inch long and their antennae are 2/3 as long as the body. Adult females give birth to approximately 50 nymphs.


Unlike the potato aphid, these aphids are uniformly scattered on the leaf. On lettuce, populations start on the lower leaves and move up the plant.


Populations are larger during periods of adequate rainfall and smallest during hot, dry weather.

Cultural Control

This aphid develops on crop and non-crop hosts. Thus it is important to remove crop residues and weed hosts prior to planting new crops.

Biological Control

There are many natural enemies of the green peach aphid, some of which are specific and others that are general to all aphids. In Hawaii the most effective natural enemies are the predatory syphid maggots, Allograpta sp., lady beetles and parasitic wasps. Another effective parasite is Diaretus chenopodiaphidis Ashmead.


The green peach aphid has developed resistance to certain insecticides. It is important to test insecticides on local populations before making large purchases of pesticides.

The use of chemicals to control the spread of virus diseases is usually not effective.


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