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Rosy apple aphid is one of several aphid species that can occur on apple trees, it is often the most damaging.
Rosy apple aphid damage on fruit and foliage
Rosy apple aphid is a small sap-sucking insect that feeds on apple foliage and fruitlets during spring and early summer. Because it damages fruits even low numbers of aphids can cause significant damage.
Dense colonies of pinkish grey aphids develop on the underside of the foliage in spring and early summer. Affected leaves at the shoot tips become curled and yellowish. Where the aphids have been sucking sap from the fruitlets, they prevent the fruits' normal development. Affected fruits often remain small with a pinched appearance around the eye end. In late summer, some branches may have normal fruits while others have only damaged fruits, reflecting the distribution of aphids on the tree earlier in the growing season.
Heavily infested shoots show stunted growth with distorted leaves that start to turn brown during the summer. The main damage is to the developing fruits, which can be severely undersized and malformed.
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Rosy apple aphid overwinters on apple trees as eggs that are laid in autumn in bark crevices and around the buds on the shoots. These eggs hatch in spring as the leaves begin to emerge from the buds. While sucking up sap, the aphids secrete chemicals into the foliage and fruitlets, which cause the distorted growth.
Several generations of wingless aphids develop between bud burst and early summer. During June-July, winged forms of the aphid develop that migrate away to wild flowers known as plantains, Plantago species, where they spend the rest of the summer. Infestations on apple die out during the summer but there is a return migration from plantains in autumn when overwintering eggs are produced.
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