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Cotton aphid

Aphis gossypii
  • Rotate planting of cotton with onion or maize. Be sure not to plant alternate hosts such as cucumber or tomato.
  • Use of resistant varieties. Contact local extension officer of agro-dealer for locally available varieties.
  • Avoid the use of broad spectrum insecticides to conserve natural pest species such as ladybird beetles, lacewings and parasitoids.
  • Top the plants following boll opening to remove the upper leaves where aphids primarily feed. This reduces infestation on lower areas of the plant.
  • Actively monitor crops for symptoms of infestation and aphid presence by eye and using a hand lens.
  • Symptoms of aphid infestation include yellowing and curling of leaves. Stunted growth and distortion of plant stems.
  • A characteristic feature of infestation is the presence of black sooty mould growing on the honeydew secretion from aphids.
  • Adults are 2 mm long, with black heads and yellow/green bodied.
  • Nymphs are pale yellow/green, roughly 1-1.5 mm long.
  • Consider direct control actions if more than 5 aphids are found per plant when 20 are surveyed.
  • Using a strong jet of water, wash aphids off the underside of leaves during early and low infestations roughly once a week.
  • Prune heavily infested plant parts and destroy by burning.
  • Control ant populations, as ants are associated with aphids due to their honeydew secretions and protect aphids from natural enemies. Use a band of sticky tape around the base of plants to trap ants.
  • Use of neem extract (50 g neem seed cake per litre of water and 2 tablespoons of liquid soap). Spray no more than twice per season.
  • Use of liquid soap solution (10 ml liquid soap, 85 g chopped/ground garlic, 1 litre of water and 50 ml of vegetable oil). Add 2 litres of water to the solution before use then spray.

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