Brachycorynella asparagi (Mordvilko), Aphididae, HEMIPTERA
This powdery, pale green aphid is only a few millimeters long. Like other aphids, it is a pear-shaped, soft-bodied insect with a pair of tailpipe-like appendages (cornicles) on its abdomen.
Distribution - The asparagus aphid is native to eastern Europe and the Mediterranean
area. The first infestation in North America was noticed in New York in 1969. Since that time, the
aphid has been reported in New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania,
Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington.
Host Plants - Asparagus is the only known food plant of this aphid.
Damage - Asparagus aphids feed on cladophylls (modified leaves) and under bracts. They
extract sap through their needle-like mouthparts. Heavily infested seedlings may form rosettes or
shrivel and die. Similar infestations on older plants may cause severe dwarfing. Fortunately,
predators, parasites, and diseases have kept this aphid from becoming a serious pest in most
Life History - The biology of the asparagus aphid has not been formally studied in North
America. It probably overwinters as eggs in North Carolina. In spring aphids resume
development. Most species of aphids are prolific and produce live young without mating. New
generations continue to be produced as long as warm, dry weather continues and host plants are
Asparagus aphids are subject to control by at least 31 species of natural enemies (predators,
parasites, and diseases). As a result, chemical control is rarely necessary. Should large aphid
populations develop, consult the state agricultural extension service or the current North
Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual for up-to-date recommendations.
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