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Mealy cabbage aphid is common on brassicas. Its presence on established plants can usually be tolerated however, the aphid can make kale inedible and the growth points of young brassica can be severely affected.
Mealy cabbage aphid
Mealy cabbage aphid is a greenfly with distinct whitish or 'mealy' appearance. They are sap-sucking insects that feed on cabbages and other brassicas.
On first appearances this insect may be confused with cabbage whitefly. However, mealy cabbage aphid does not fly up in a white cloud when disturbed. Other symptoms to look out for include:
Look for aphids on foliage, especially on more vulnerable young plants in late spring to early summer.
Pesticides for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining pesticides available to gardeners)
Mealy cabbage aphid overwinters on its host plants as eggs that are laid on stems in late autumn, although in mild winters infestations of active aphids may persist through the winter.
For most of spring and summer, the aphids are present as wingless females that give birth to live young.
Winged forms develop when plants become heavily infested, allowing the aphids to migrate to new host plants.
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