Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos)-Aphid

Includes manzanita leafgall aphid (Tamalia coweni)

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Pest description and crop damage aphid are grayish or greenish and prefer new growth. The manzanita leafgall aphid feeds on the leaves of kinnikinnick and other manzanita species (Arctostaphylos spp.). Aphid feeding causes the leaves to thicken and form bright red galls. Older galls turn brown. Severe infestations may slow the growth of the plant. Non-gall-forming aphid also may be seen occasionally on kinnikinnick. They are greenish, soft-bodied insects that may feed on leaves or stems. Honeydew, a sweet, sticky material, may be associated with aphid feeding. It may attract ants or become covered with a growth of dark, sooty mold.

Management-biological control

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Management-cultural control

Prune off and destroy galls where seen. Avoid frequent shearing and overfertilization, which encourages succulent new growth favored by aphid. For other aphid pests, wash aphid from plants with a strong stream of water or by hand-wiping. Avoid excessive watering, and use slow-release or organic sources of nitrogen. Control ants, which "farm" aphid and protect them from predators in order to harvest their honeydew.

Management-chemical control

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Spray in spring to protect new foliage. It is important to cover foliage thoroughly, including lower leaf surfaces.

For more information

Johnson, W.T. and H.H. Lyon (1991), Insects That Feed on Trees and Shrubs, 2nd ed., Cornell University Press (p. 298).