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Chemical control of aphids in mango

Toxoptera odinae

Recognize the problem

Aphids are tiny soft-bodied insects that attack mango plants and other fruit trees by sucking the fluid from young leaves. Their body is broadly oval and they are only about 1 to 2.5 mm long. They are brown, reddish-brown to blackish-brown or greyish-green to blackish-green, and covered with a light powdery dusting. They are found on the underside of young leaves. Heavily attacked leaves appear black.


Aphids reduce the ability of the plants to produce fruit. These insect pests can be controlled by chemicals. Spraying entire trees or plants can be very expensive. That is why chemicals that can be taken up by the roots need to be used. Such chemicals can be applied near the root system, which will take up the chemical. The chemical is then transported in the plant to the leaves, where the aphids feed. This only works on small trees.


  • Dig out the soil 10-15 cm deep and 10 to 20 cm wide around the affected mango trees. These dug holes are also called basins.
  • Get the chemical fenthion from a reliable agro-input dealer. There are many different trade names for this insecticide.
  • Mix 200 ml of the chemical fenthion with 20 litres of water. But read the product label to double-check dosage.
  • Pour 2.5 litres of the mixture into the dug hole around each plant and cover with soil. Do not pour onto the ground near water sources as this is dangerous for fish, and people that use the water.
  • After this, the basin area must be supplied with water every day for two weeks to allow the chemical move up or ‘climb’ the tree from the roots.
  • Any aphid that sucks from the leaves will die from poisoning by the chemical.
  • The chemical is moderately hazardous so be careful not to poison yourself. You must wear a mask, googles and gloves when handling this chemical.
  • Be careful with your chickens and beehives, as this chemical is highly toxic to both.

When using a pesticide, always wear protective clothing and follow the instructions on the product label, such as dosage, timing of application, and pre-harvest interval.

The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to: Zambia

Authors: Vincent Simwinga, Mathews Matimelo, Henry Mgomba
Zambia Agriculture Research Institute
tel: +260972256284 email:
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 licence.

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