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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

apple-grass aphid (Rhopalosiphum insertum)

Host plants / species affected
Agropyron (wheatgrass)
Agrostis spp.
Avena sativa (oats)
Cotoneaster frigida
Cotoneaster pannosa
Cotoneaster spp.
Crataegus spp.
Cydonia oblonga (quince)
Cydonia spp.
Elymus repens (quackgrass)
Festuca spp.
Hordeum distichon (two-rowed barley)
Hordeum spp.
Hordeum vulgare (barley)
Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass)
Lolium spp.
Malus domestica (apple)
Malus spp.
Malus sylvestris (crab-apple tree)
Mespilus germanica (medlar)
Mespilus spp.
Oxyacantha spp.
Poa annua (annual meadowgrass)
Poa arachnifera (texas bluegrass)
Poa compressa (Canada bluegrass)
Poa spp.
Pyrus communis (European pear)
Pyrus spp.
Sorbus commixta (japanese rowan)
Sorbus spp.
Sorbus torminalis (rowan)
Triticum (wheat)
Triticum aestivum (wheat)
Zea mays (maize)
List of symptoms/signs
Growing point  -  external feeding
Leaves  -  abnormal forms
Leaves  -  external feeding
Leaves  -  honeydew or sooty mould
Roots  -  external feeding
Stems  -  external feeding
Whole plant  -  external feeding
On apple, R. insertum feeds on the undersides of young leaves, causing the leaves to curl from base to tip, rather than from edge to edge. No colour changes occur in leaves, unlike foliage damage due to other apple aphids.
Prevention and control

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:

R. insertum is an economic pest of apples in Europe and North America. Damage is due to direct feeding on the young leaves, shoots and buds. Most damage is caused in spring, when the flower buds are opening. Considerable crop yield losses can occur due to the constant sucking of sap, which decreases fruit set and can cause the premature fall of fruitlets. R. insertum is one of several aphid species responsible for considerable loss of crops annually, particularly in orchards that are not regularly sprayed (Rogerson, 1947; Evenhuis, 1968).

R. insertum is also a pest of cereals, due to its ability to transmit the persistent barley yellow dwarf luteovirus (BYDV). All the major cereal aphids are vectors of BYDV, including Rhopalosiphum padi, Sitobion avenae and Metopolophium dirhodium, in addition to R. insertum. Yield losses due to early season inoculation with BYDV can be as high as 35-44% in wheat, 35-51% in barley and 67-81% in oats (Vickerman and Wratten, 1979). R. insertum can also transmit potato Y potyvirus N (PVYN) (Van Hoof, 1980).
Related treatment support
External factsheets
Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia Farmnotes, Government of Western Australia, 2005, English language
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