Aphis fabae

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Aphis fabae colony on "Arctium lappa (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Michael Becker
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Aphis fabae Scopoli, 1763 - (bean aphid)

The aphid is a serious and polyphagous pest in temperate and subtropical regions around the world. Attacked crops include Phaseolus and faba beans, beets and many others. Weeds are also colonized and in total, around 200 host plants have been recorded. The aphid is mainly found on the lower surface of young leaves which curl, stop developing and eventually become necrotic. Infested plants are stunted and yield losses of more than 50% have been reported. A. fabae is also an important vector of various plant viruses, like Beet yellows virus, Beet mosaic virus or Bean yellow mosaic virus. Damage by the transmitted viruses may be more severe than the feeding damage.

In autumn, adults lay overwintering eggs on primary host plants like Euonymus, Viburnum or Philadelphus. These hatch in spring and winged adults from subsequent generations start moving to secondary hosts, including crops, in late spring. On the secondary hosts mainly females are found which reproduce parthenogenetically and give birth to live nymphs. Development is fast and there are many generations per year. In warmer climates asexual reproduction might continue throughout the year.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Schwarze Bohnenblattlaus
Rübenblattlaus
Bohnenblattlaus
• English: bean aphid
black bean aphid
• Español: pulgón negro de las habas
• Français: puceron noir de la fève
puceron du haricot

Early sowing and rotation with a less preferred crop are the main management options. The application of insecticides should be only considered if aphid populations are increasing and natural enemies (e.g. coccinellid and lacewing predators or parasitoids like Lysiphlebus) cannot reduce the infestation.

The wingless adults are about 2-3 mm long, black to dark green. The antennae and legs are light yellowish with some dark sections. The winged form is similar but more slender.

Synonyms:
Aphis papaveris
Doralis fabae

For details see the respective page in Wikipedia.