Ash from aphids reviews and application description

Ash from aphids reviews and application description

Wet Spring Breeds Aph >Posted on: June 11th, 2015

Swingle experts are predicting a significant increase in the aphid population this season – a result of unseasonably wet weather along the Front Range of Colorado this spring.

Though it’s long been said that Colorado receives 300 days of sunshine a year, many areas of the state saw more precipitation than sun in April and May of 2015 – resulting in greener lawns and accelerated growth of trees and shrubs. The rain also creates the perfect environment for aphids and other insects like mosquitoes to thrive at an unusually high rate.

Aphids (from the aphididae family) are tiny, soft-bodied insects that literally “suck” the sap out of plant and tree leaves. The aphid female is quite unique – giving birth to live females who themselves are already pregnant with many more generations of the insect. It’s this anomaly which enables the population to explode in numbers.

Given the already large population due to abnormal moisture and the resulting growth, aphids could easily overtake your landscape if plants are not properly treated.

Aphids can cause foliage to curl and distort unnaturally, which can further distort growth and put undue stress on the plant or tree. Perhaps most frustrating is the sugary waste (called honeydew), which drops from the insect leaving unwanted deposits on windows, cars and anything below it.

A kind of sooty mold often breeds on the honeydew deposits, causing the surface of the foliage to look black in appearance. This is typically the first warning sign for homeowners and property managers that aphid activity is present.

Additionally, ants and hornets are naturally attracted to the honeydew deposits – increasing their population as well.

Aphids are typically found on almost all types of plants and trees across Colorado including: aspen, red twig dogwood, elm, Norway maple and green ash trees (the most common ash tree in the Front Range). While green ash trees are susceptible to aphids, white and autumn purple ash are typically not affected, but should be inspected with the rest of your landscape.

Treatment options include both soil injections and topical sprays – the latter becoming a less common application in an effort to help protect and preserve the pollinator population in Colorado. The good news is a soil injection can keep the aphids at bay and protect your ash tree from emerald ash borer (EAB).


  • For green ash trees, a soil injection treats for aphids and emerald ash borer – one solution for two problems
  • Treat & Inspect: By treating at the appropriate times through the year, this Swingle program protects your trees and shrubs from aphids, spider mites, and caterpillars

Each situation is unique, which is why consulting a certified arborist is important.

Woolly Ash Aph >

Author Biography


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Martynov, V.V. and Nikulina, T.V. 2016. Мартынов В.В. и Никулина Т.В. Prociphilus (Meliarhizophagus) fraxinifolii (Riley, 1979) (Hemiptera: Aphididae: Eriosomatinae) – новый инвазивный североамериканский вид тлей на территории Донбасса [Prociphilus (Meliarhizophagus) fraxinifolii (Riley, 1979) (Hemiptera: Aphididae: Eriosomatinae) – a new invasive North American species of aphids in the territory of Donbass]. Proc. conf. Actual problems of integrated plant protection, Kyiv, 53–54 (in Russian)

Musolin, D.L., Selikhovkin, A.V., Shabunin, D.A., Zviaginsev and V.B., Baranchikov, Y.N. 2017. Between ash dieback and emerald ash borer: two Asian invaders in Russia and the future of ash in Europe. Baltic Forestry 23 (1): 316–333.

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Orlova-Bienkowskaja, M.J. 2017. Main Trends of Invasion Processes in Beetles (Coleoptera) of European Russia. Russian Journal of Biological Invasions 8(2): 143–157, DOI: 10.1134/S2075111717020060.

Orlova-Bienkowskaja, M.J. and Belokobylskij, S.A. 2014. Discovery of the first European parasitoid of the emerald ash borer Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). European Journal of Entomology 111(4): 594–596, DOI: 10.14411/eje.2014.061.

Orlova-Bienkowskaja, M.J., Bieńkowski, A.O. 2016. The life cycle of the emerald ash borer Agrilus planipennis in European Russia and comparisons with its life cycles in Asia and North America. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 18(2): 182–188, DOI: 10.1111/afe.12140.

Orlova-Bienkowskaja, M.J. and Volkovitsh, M.G. 2014. Range expansion of Agrilus convexicollis in European Russia expedited by the invasion of emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Biological Invasions 17(2): 537–544, DOI: 10.1007/s10530-014-0762-6.

Pérez Hidalgo, N. and Mier Durante, M.P. 2012. First record of Prociphilus (Meliarhizophagus) fraxinifolii (Riley) [Hemiptera: Aphididae] in the Iberian Peninsula. EPPO Bulletin 42 (1): 142–145, DOI: 10.1111/epp.2531.

Remaudiere, G. and Ripka, G. 2003. Arrivée en Europe (Budapest, Hongrie) du puceron des frenes américains, Prociphilus (Meliarhizophagus) fraxinifolii (Hemiptera, Aphididae, Eriosomatinae, Pemphigini). [Arrival in Europe (Budapest, Hungary) of American aphid, Prociphilus (Meliarhizophagus) fraxinifolii (Hemiptera, Aphididae, Eriosomatinae, Pemphigini).] Revue française d’entomologie, 25(3): 152 (in French).

Selikhovkin, A.V., Popovichev, B.G., Mandelshtam, M.Yu., Vasaitis, R. and Musolin, D.L. 2017. The Frontline of Invasion: the Current Northern Limit of the Invasive Range of Emerald Ash Borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), in European Russia. Baltic Forestry 23(1): 309-315.

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Use of slow-release plant infochemicals to control aph >

Haibo Zhou

1 State Key Laboratory for Biology of Plant Disease and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, 100193, PR China

2 Functional and Evolutionary Entomology, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liege, Gembloux, 5030, Belgium

3 Anhui Academy of Science and Technology, Heifei, 230031, PR China

4 Anhui Academy of Applied Technology, Heifei, 230088, PR China

Longsheng Chen

3 Anhui Academy of Science and Technology, Heifei, 230031, PR China

4 Anhui Academy of Applied Technology, Heifei, 230088, PR China

5 College of Plant Protection, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, 271018, China

Julian Chen

1 State Key Laboratory for Biology of Plant Disease and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, 100193, PR China

Frédéric Francis

2 Functional and Evolutionary Entomology, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liege, Gembloux, 5030, Belgium

Using infochemicals to develop a push–pull strategy in pest control is a potential way to promote sustainable crop production. Infochemicals from plant essential oils were mixed with paraffin oil for slow release in field experiments on wheat to control the population density of cereal aphids and to enhance their natural enemies. (Z)-3-Hexenol (Z3H) attracted Metopolophum dirhodum and Sitobion avenae, the predominant species on wheat in Belgium, and may be a useful infochemical for aphid control by attracting aphids away from field plots. Release of (E)-β-farnesene (EBF) or a garlic extract (GE) led to a significant decrease in the abundance of wheat aphids. The main natural enemies of cereal aphids found were lacewings (47.8%), hoverflies (39.4%), and ladybirds (12.8%). Ladybird abundance varied little before the end of the wheat-growing season. Our results suggest that these chemicals can form the basis of a “push–pull” strategy for aphid biological control, with GE and EBF acting as a pest- and beneficial-pulling stimulus and Z3H for aphid pulling.

Among aphid species, the grain aphid [Sitobion avenae (Fabricius)], bird cherry-oat aphid [Rhopalosiphum padi (L.)], and rose-grain aphid [Metopolophium dirhodum (Walker)] are considered the major pests that infest cereal crops as a result of feeding on phloem and transmitting viruses 1 ,2 , particularly on winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L. [Poaceae]) in Europe 3 . Aphid populations often fluctuate greatly from year to year 4 and are affected by a range of biotic and abiotic factors 5 .

Because of the urgent need for sustainable agricultural methods and reduced reliance on pesticide use, more integrated pest management studies are focusing on the ecological effect of volatiles released by plants on herbivores and their natural enemies 6 ,7 ,8 ,9 ,10 ,11 ,12 ,13 ,14 . Several studies on volatiles under natural conditions have demonstrated their applicability for enhancing natural enemy abundance on strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) 7 , cotton (Gossypium spp.) 12 , hops (Humulus lupulus) 8 and grapes (Vitis vinifera) 9 and for reducing pest populations in wheat (Triticum aestivum) 6 ,15 and barley (Hordeum vulgare) 16 .

While attracting natural enemies of these herbivores 17 , volatiles emanating from herbivore-infested plants may also stimulate plant defense against herbivores and serve as recognition cues between two or more individuals 18 . Dicke et al. (1987, 1990) presented the first convincing evidence that the active release of volatiles by herbivore-infested plants attracts natural enemies of the attackers 19 ,20 . Aphid behaviour is also affected by a density mechanism that is mediated by volatile compounds released at the feeding site when their density exceeds a certain threshold 16 . A further study revealed that these volatiles could increase the sensitivity of aphids to disturbance and promote mobility of nonsettled individuals 21 .

Because they are a natural emission from plants, essential oils do not pose the toxicity problems of pesticides to animals and the environment 15 ,22 . Plant semiochemicals should be considered as potential reliable infochemicals in relation to to repelling pests and attracting natural enemies of these pests. Their long-distance effects and easy production and manipulation make these molecules very good prospects for use with crops by spraying or mixing with a slow-releasing carrier to repel insect feeding or ovipositing from host plants and/or to guide them to nonhosts 23 .

Japanese termite (Reticulitermes speratus) 24 , sciarid fly [Lycoriella ingénue (Dufour)] 22 and pine wood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus) 25 were repelled by a garlic (Allium sativum) extract (GE), providing direct evidence that strongly aromatic crops such as garlic, can act as an olfactory camouflage by masking normal host-locating or feeding cues of insects (Perrin and Phillips, 1978). (E)-β-Farnesene (EBF), an important volatile sesquiterpene that occurs widely in both plant and animal taxa, such as aphids 26 and peppermint (Mentha ×piperita L.) 27 , is an effective kairomone for ladybirds 28 ,29 ,30 , lacewings 31 and hoverflies 32 . It is proven to be the main or only component of the aphid alarm pheromones for many pest aphids 33 ,34 ,35 ,36 ,37 .

Herbivore-induced volatiles (HIVs), for example, (Z)-3-hexenol (Z3H), can directly affect the physiology and behavior of herbivores 38 . Z3H has been demonstrated to attract Agrilus planipennis in the laboratory and field 39 ,40 and the fruit moth Cydia molesta 41 . Although it has been difficult to determine whether Z3H is an attractant or a repellent, accumulating evidence suggests that Z3H is an important plant-derived infochemical that can modulate the behavior of herbivorous insects and that the release of Z3H induces defensive responses in the plants against insect pests 38 .

Extensive evidence implies that nearly all herbivorous insects and their natural enemies can perceive and positively respond to plant volatiles. In this investigation, the essential oils of plant volatiles (EBF, GE and Z3H) were released in a wheat field to assess their potential for managing aphid populations by reducing aphid abundance and promoting their natural enemies.

Materials and Methods

Experimental design of field studies

In the experimental fields of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University de Liege, Namur Province of Belgium (50 °33″ N, 4 °42″ E) in 2011, traps were set out as shown in Fig. 1 . The trial consisted of four treatments in the wheat field: (1) only paraffin oil (PO) as the control, (2) (E)-β-farnesene release (EBF), (3) garlic extract release (GE), (4) (Z)-3-hexenol release (Z3H). Those extracts were provided by Prof. Frédéric Francis (Gembloux Agro-Bio-Tech., Universite de Liege). Single yellow trap sticks with the releasers were placed 20 m apart in a latin square design with 3 replicates per treatment (12 releasers and 12 traps total). Wheat (cv. Tybalt) was planted in 20-cm-apart rows at 350 seeds/m 2 on 18 February 2011. No insecticides or herbicides were used in the whole experimental area.

(A) Paraffin oil, (B) (E)-β-farnesene, (C) garlic extract, (D) (Z)-3-hexenol.

Assessment of insect abundance and diversity

Yellow traps (26 cm diameter 10 cm depth) that are frequently used to monitor insects in fields 42 were attached to crabsticks and placed 10 cm above the surface of the wheat plants. Each trap was filled with water and a few drops detergent. Every 7 days, 100 μL of (E)-β-farnesene, garlic extract or (Z)-3-hexenol solution formulated in paraffin oil (for slow release of the infochemcial) were deposited on a 1-cm-diameter rubber septum that was placed on the top of the trap stick; 76 μg of EBF is released from the formulation over 7 days at 20 °C, 65% relative humidity and air flow of 0.5 litre/min (Dr. S. Heuskin, unpublished data). A similar release rate was applied to the other tested semiochemicals. The slow releasers were first placed in the wheat field at the jointing stage on 4 May.

Traps were emptied and reset at 7-day intervals between 11 May to 29 June. Trap contents were decanted through a 1-mm-mesh sieve and transferred to 70% ethanol in 50-mL plastic vials. In the laboratory, aphids and their natural enemies were sorted and identified to species, and the abundance of each species was recorded.

Aphid abundance in the traps was compared every 7 days to the aphid density determined by visual observation on 20 randomly selected wheat tillers.

Statistical analyses

For all parametric tests, a data sqrt (n + 1) transformation was applied to stabilize the variance. Population densities of insects were compared among the infochemical releaser tests using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) 43 , followed by Tukey’s honestly significant difference (HSD) test.

Abundance and diversity of aph >M. dirhodum and S. avenae were the predominant species on wheat, and Z3H was the most attractive to these aphids. EBF and GE repelled aphids significantly within wheat fields. Trapping numbers and visual counts of aphid were consistent. M. dirhodum was far more abundant than S. avenae in observations and traps ( Table 1 and Fig. 2 ). In addition, several wheat nontarget aphid species were recorded in traps: Cavariella aegopodii (Scopoli), Aphis fabae (Scopoli), Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Thomas), Myzus persicae (Sultzer), Rhopalosiphum maidis (Fitch), Cavariella ihedbaldi, Nasonovia ribisnigri (Mosley), Phyllaphis fagi (Linnaeus), Chaitophorus spp. and Capitophorus spp.

Total number of aph >Different letters indicate a statistically significant difference between the individual treatments at P Paraffin oil (E)-β-Farnesene Garlic extract (Z)-3-Hexenol % of Total a Aphids Metopolophum dirhodum (Walker) 896 585 582 1122 89.5 Sitobion avenae (Fabricius) 138 35 54 148 10.5 Diversity and abundance of aphid species % 29.0 17.4 17.9 35.7 Ladybirds 12.8% b Harmonia axyridis Pallas 18 21 22 28 66.8 Coccinella septempunctata L. 9 9 8 3 21.8 Propylea 14-punctata L. 3 3 1 0 5.3 Harmonia 4-punctata 2 1 0 0 2.3 Calvia 14-guttata 2 0 0 0 1.5 Hippodamia variegata (Goeze) 1 1 0 1 2.3 Hoverflies 39.4% b Episyrphus balteatus De Geer 69 108 85 76 82.6 Scaeva pyrastri L. 2 0 0 7 2.2 Sphaerophoria scripta L. 12 16 9 8 11.0 Melanostoma scalare Fabr. 0 3 0 1 1.0 Metasyrphus corollae Fabr. 5 1 2 5 3.2 Lacewings 47.8% b Chrysoperla carnea Stephens 95 128 152 121 100.0 Total numbers of aphidophagous species 218 291 279 250 Percentage of total number of aphidophagous species 21.0 28.0 26.9 24.1

a Relative abundance of each species by family.

b Relative occurrence of each family in aphidophagous guild.

According to visual observations and trapping, the population dynamics of M. dirhodum and S. avenae in each treatment followed the same trend on growing wheat, with increasing population densities that peaked on 15 June and 22 June, respectively ( Fig. 3 ). Based on visual observations in the field, Z3H attracted mainly M. dirhodum for both the highest peak value and total during the whole observation period, whereas EBF and GE repelled aph >

Abundance and diversity of natural aph >The main natural enemies of cereal aphids found in the trials in order of abundance were lacewings (47.8%), hoverflies (39.4%) and ladybirds (12.8%). Of the predatory species, E. balteatus, C. carnea and H. axyridis were the predominant species on wheat. On the basis of total number of aphidophagous species attracted, EBF, GE and Z3H attracted more than the control PO did ( Table 1 ). Not all the collected hoverflies were aphidophagous species (Eristalis pertinax, Helophilus trivitatus, Cheilosia spp., Eristalis tenax, Eristalis arbustorum). The aphid predators and their diversity are presented in Table 1 .

The hoverfly population density had reached its peak by 29 June ( Fig. 4(a) ). Before this peak, hoverfly density d >

Different letters indicate a statistically significant difference between individual treatments at P Fig. 4(b) ). The population density of lacewings in each treatment was low before 8 June. No significant difference in total lacewing abundance among treatments was detected (F3,8 = 1.25, P = 0.36).

Finally, ladybird population dynamics did not vary significantly among treatments before 22 June ( Fig. 4(c) ). Moreover, the ladybird population peaked in all treatments at the end of the wheat season when the aph >


The densities of cereal aphids and their natural enemies in wheat were significantly influenced by the test infochemical releasers, mainly with EBF and GE, supporting the view that these volatiles play a significant role in the behavioural ecology of aphids and demonstrating the potential use of the volatiles in pest control. As reviewed by Kunert et al. 44 , several factors could contribute to the low abundance of M. dirhodum and S. avenae in the EBF-release plots. First, EBF emission may directly prevent aphid settling because wild potato (Solanum berthaultii) repels the green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) by emitting EBF 45 . EBF might also reduce aphid growth rate by disrupting feeding 46 or by inducing wing formation and reducing aphid population size 47 ,48 . Since winged offspring leave their host plant before starting reproduction, plants that produce EBF could reduce aphid colonization 49 ,50 . Under natural conditions, plants emit infochemical as signals in response to attack by insect herbivores that recruit natural enemies of the herbivores 51 ; thus, EBF release in plots might primarily improve the efficiency of the natural enemies in locating their prey. This hypothesis is supported by the results of our study that population densities of hoverflies were higher when EBF release was at its peak. Nevertheless, there were some exceptions to the influence of EBF on lacewings and ladybirds in our investigation. The amount of infochemical in releasers may determine the probability of predator response. Shiojiri et al. 52 showed that seedlings of a cabbage variety attracted more parasitoids (Cotesia glomerata) when there were more herbivores on the plant. Further study is needed to demonstrate and clarify the mechanism for this phenomenon.

Aphids perceive the host plant and avoid nonhosts by sensing volatile cues 53 . Garlic plants are not hosts to cereal aphids, so a garlic extract is likely to be unsuitable for aphids. Indeed, population densities of M. dirhodum and S. avenae were significantly lower in GE-release plots than in the PO control plots. Also worth mentioning is that GE significantly attracted more lacewings than did the PO plots. Moreover, GE did not negatively influence field populations of hoverflies or ladybirds. As far as we know, this study is the first to show that GE or garlicin helps plants recruit natural enemies of aphids.

On the basis of available knowledge, wound-induced, ubiquitous (Z)-3-hexenol, a C6-alcohol synthesized in the lipoxygenase/HPL pathway, is the most important infochemical influencing herbivore repellence and attraction in tritrophic interactions 38 . Quiroz and Niemeyer 54 found that volatiles from wheat and oat seedlings attracted winged and wingless Rhopalosiphum padi. These volatiles were identified by GC-MS, and olfactometer tests performed with each compound showed that aphids were attracted by (E)-2-hexenyl acetate, (Z)-3-hexenol, (Z)-2-hexenol and so on. Our result that the Z3H release attracted the highest population densities of M. dirhodum and S. avenae in ( Fig. 2 ) agrees with their report on the cereal aphid R. padi 54 .

The push–pull strategy is a behavioral manipulation method that uses repellent/deterrent (push) and attractive/stimulant (push) stimuli to direct the movement of pest or beneficial insects for pest management 55 . The volatiles tested in the present study were either a repellent or attractant stimuli to aphids and either an attractant or neutral to natural enemies (beneficials), depending on the infochemical. Z3H acted as a pull stimulus to the aphids, but was neutral to beneficials; GE and EBF acted as a push stimulus for the aphids and as a pull for beneficials (EBF to hoverfly, GE to lacewings). The three infochemicals could be used to promote a push–pull strategy and have great potential for integrated pest management of wheat aphids. Recent studies have provided evidence for the potential use of synthetic volatiles as aids to enhance biological control measures in crop ecosystems 13 ,56 ,57 . Targeting the right volatiles for enhanced emission could lead to ecologically and economically sound ways of combating important pests. However, a remaining question surrounding the use of these materials in integrated pest management is the ecological consequences of these synthetic volatiles on predators and parasitoids in the absence of their prey. Therefore, more detailed work on ecological consequences and application rate, dose and duration under field conditions must be done before those volatiles can be developed as a semiochemical tool to replace broad-spectrum insecticides. Manipulating the behavior of natural enemies to improve biological control holds great potential for improving push–pull strategies so that they can be more widely deployed for sustainable agricultural systems in the future.

Additional Information

How to cite this article: Zhou, H. et al. Use of slow-release plant infochemicals to control aphids: a first investigation in a Belgian wheat field. Sci. Rep. 6, 31552; doi: 10.1038/srep31552 (2016).


We sincerely thank Almouner A. Yattara and Poligui René-Noël (Department of Functional and Evolutionary Entomology, University of Liege, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech) for their assistance in identifying aphids and their natural enemy species. This research was supported by the International Cooperation Project between Belgium and China (CUDPICShandong, 2014DFG32270), Anhui Provincial Natural Science Foundation (1608085QC61), Anhui Postdoctoral Fund Project for Scientific Research and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31371946).

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