Cabbage and turnip aphids: cabbage pests in Indonesia and Western Australia

Page last updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2018 - 11:04am

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Cabbage and turnip aphids are relatively minor pests of cabbages in both Indonesia and Western Australia.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia has worked with the Indonesian potato industry to increase the productivity of Indonesian crops planted with WA seed potatoes.

Improved productivity requires accurate identification of pests in potatoes and also in the cabbage rotation crop.

As well as helping Indonesian farmers, this information will assist Western Australian seed potato exporters understand the challenges their Indonesian customers face.

Identification

Three main species of aphids attack cabbages and other brassica vegetable crops. The Indonesian name for all three species is "kutu daun" and the scientific names are Brevicoryne brassicae (cabbage aphid), Lipaphis pseudobrassicae (turnip aphid) and Myzus persicae (green peach aphid).

Cabbage and turnip aphids are the main species that attack cabbages. Green peach aphid can also attack cabbages, mainly in the early growth stages. Information on green peach aphid as a pest of potatoes is available.

The aphids are 1.5 to 2.5mm long with two tubes called cornicles on the end of the body. Use a 10x hand magnifier to be able to positively identify an insect as an aphid.

Wingless and winged aphid adults are brown
Wingless and winged aphid adults

Adult aphids can be winged or wingless. Winged adults invade crops and produce live nymphs which grow to become wingless adults. When populations on leaves are high, nymphs become winged adults.

Wingless adults and nymphs of cabbage aphid. Brown aphids are parasitised aphids. Photo courtesy Pia Scanlon, DAFWA
Wingless adults, nymphs and brown parasitised bodies of cabbage aphid (photo courtesy Pia Scanlon, DAFWA)

Cabbage aphids are greyish to mid-green and covered with a white wax. If they are parasitised by a wasp, their bodies become brown as the wasp larva grows inside the aphid body killing it. These aphid shells expand and are called 'mummies'. The wasp adult chews a circular hole through the aphid skin to emerge.

Turnip aphid is green in colour
Turnip aphid (photo courtesy IPM Images USA)

Turnip aphids are yellowish to olive green and have little or no wax covering.

Green peach aphid winged adults have black patches. Nymphs or wingless adults can be yellow or green to pale brown.

Contact information

Stewart Learmonth
+61 (0)8 9777 0167

Cabbage and turnip aphids: cabbage pests in Indonesia and Western Australia

Author

Stewart Learmonth

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