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Two aphid species can cause problems on plums, damsons, greengages and sloe. These are the plum leaf-curling aphid and mealy plum aphid.
Plum aphids are sap-sucking insects that feed of the foliage of plums and other realted fruit trees.
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Both mealy plum and plum leaf-curling aphids overwinter as eggs that are laid in autumn in bark crevices and around the buds. Eggs of plum leaf-curling aphid hatch at bud burst but those of mealy plum aphid hatch later in April.
Aphids feed by sucking sap from the foliage. Leaf-curling plum aphid secretes chemicals into the foliage that cause the young leaves to develop in a crumpled and distorted fashion. In this species, winged forms of the aphid develop during May and the winged adults then fly away to various herbaceous plant where they spend the summer. The infestation on plums dies out in late May-early June and after that time the tree produces normal foliage.
Mealy plum aphid populations can begin to build up and heavy infestations may develop during mid- to late summer. Winged mealy plum aphids develop during the summer and these migrate away to various grasses and reeds.
Both species produce a winged generation in autumn that flies back to plums and other host plants to lay the overwintering eggs.
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