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Spirea aphid

Aphis spiraecola Patch
Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Aphididae

The eggs are oval and shiny black. The adults and nymphs are olive-green with brown-black legs (A), antennae, and cornicles. They live in colonies.


Widespread in most fruit-growing states and provinces in eastern North America.


Attacks apple and pear. This aphid causes the curling of young leaves (B), reduces the growth of infested shoots and excretes honeydew on leaves and fruit that favors the development of sooty mold.

Similar Species

The apple aphid, Aphis pomi De Geer, and the spirea aphid are impossible to differentiate in the field, even under magnification, and cause the same types of damage. In recent years, A. pomi has been almost entirely displaced by A. spiraecola in commercial apple plantings. Also, early in the season, the apple grain aphid, Rhopalosiphum fitchii (Sanderson), is present. It has three longitudinal dark green bands on the back (C) and normally does not cause damage.


Protect natural predators by the use of selective insecticides. Monitor colonies on growing shoots; application of selective insecticide may occasionally be necessary if high percentage of shoots have active aphid colonies (can simultaneously be used against leafhoppers and leafminers).

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The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.