The Maize Aphid, Rhopalosiphum maidis, belonging to the Family Aphididae of the Order Hemiptera, is also known as the Corn Plant Lice. It is a small, yellowish-green sap-sucking insect that feeds on the sap of the maize plant, resulting in significant yield losses. Maize aphids can also act as a vector for plant viruses, which can cause further yield losses. It can reproduce rapidly, making it difficult to eradicate. Effective management of the maize aphid is essential for protecting maize yields and preventing economic losses.
Control measures for the maize aphid include chemical sprays, biological control agents, and cultural practices. To effectively manage this pest, it is important to understand its life cycle, its preferred habitats, and the best methods for controlling it. This article will provide an overview and discussion of the Maize Aphid Pest in Maize crops, including its symptoms, identification techniques, and control.
Maize Aphids Pest Management
Life Cycle of Maize Aphid Pest in Maize Crop
Egg: The egg stage is the initial stage of the life cycle, which occurs for five to seven days. The female adult aphid lays the eggs on the underside of the leaves. After five to seven days, the eggs hatch into nymphs.
Nymph: The newly hatched nymphs feed on the plant’s sap. They increase in size and molt four times. As they feed, they excrete a sugary substance called honeydew, which can cause fungal growth in the maize plants. The nymphs also reproduce through reproduction at this stage.
Adult: The adult stage is the third stage of the life cycle. Adult aphids are winged and can fly from one location to another. They feed on the sap of the maize plants and lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves, and can reproduce.
Mating: The mating stage is the fourth stage of the life cycle of maize aphids. During this stage, the male and female aphids mate, the female lays eggs, and the cycle begins again. The life cycle of the maize aphid is completed in three to five weeks.
Occurrence of Maize Aphid Pest in Maize Crop
- Location of maize Aphid pest: This pest is native to North America and is found to infest the maize crops in the US, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Africa, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, India, Bangladesh, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan and Australia.
- Host range: The primary host of the pest is maize crops, but it can also feed on other cereals such as wheat, sorghum, barley, ragi, oats, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, and peppers.
Factors Favoring the Population Increase of Maize Aphid Pest in Maize Crop
- Temperature – Maize aphids prefer warm temperatures and thrive in temperatures ranging from 24 to 30°C, increasing their reproductive rate.
- Rainfall – Maize aphids require adequate moisture for successful reproduction. High levels of rainfall create a favorable environment.
- Cropping System – Maize monoculture cropping system is more prone to aphid infestations than rotation cropping systems.
- Cultural Practices – Poor crop management practices, such as delayed planting and inadequate weed control, can create favorable conditions for the pest.