Green peach aphid resistance management

Green peach aphid
Myzus persicae can become
resistant to many insecticides.
(Photo: Scott Bauer, USDA

P.J. Cameron1 and J.D. Fletcher2
120 Westminster Road, Mt Eden, Auckland 1003, New Zealand
2Crop & Food Research Ltd., Private Bag 4707, Christchurch, New Zealand

(Revised October 2004)

Reason for strategy and update

Green peach aphid, Myzus persicae, is capable of becoming resistant to a wide range of insecticide groups. Pest management strategies aimed at preventing or minimising resistance will help maintain control and conserve the effectiveness of existing products. This is an update of an earlier resistance management strategy (Cameron 1996).


Green peach aphid is a polyphagous species that is most important because of its ability to transmit viruses, and may be regarded as the most important vector of aphid-borne viruses. Green peach aphid can overwinter as eggs on its primary woody host, usually peach, or reproduce asexually year-round on a large range of secondary hosts, including potatoes, tomatoes, brassicas, beets, cereals, pasture clovers, peas, roses or weeds, such as docks, sow thistle and capeweed. Viruses transmitted by green peach aphid include alfalfa mosaic, potato leaf roll, tomato yellow top, beet western yellows, cucumber mosaic, lettuce mosaic, potato virus Y, watermelon mosaic virus 2 and zucchini yellow mosaic. Green peach aphid may transmit infection from weed reservoirs harbouring viruses. In addition to the listed hosts, winged green peach aphids have also been found associated with redroot, oxtongue, camomile, chickweed, cleavers, hairy buttercup and scrambling speedwell.

Direct feeding damage by low numbers of green peach aphid causes little damage to plants, although low numbers of aphids can spread unacceptable amounts of plant viruses. In the absence of virus reservoirs, greater green peach aphid populations can be tolerated.

Green peach aphid is distributed worldwide, and several resistant strains have been identified using molecular techniques. A form with a chromosomal translocation is widespread in glasshouses and has been shown to have very high levels of resistance (Blackman & Devonshire 1978).

Products with label claims for green peach aphid control in New Zealand

Table 1: Products with label claims for Myzus persicae, green peach aphid (GPA), in New Zealand (October 2002). For a summary of the details of the claims for each crop see Table 2.
Pesticide categoryIRAC chemical groupPesticide common and (product) names
Parasites   Aphidius colmani (Aphidius, Aphipar)
Predators   Aphidoletes aphidimyza (Aphidoletes)
Mineral oil   mineral oil (BP Crop oil, DC-Tron, Sunspray)
Carbamates 1A methomyl (Lannate)
pirimicarb (Pirimor)
Organo-phosphate 1B acephate (Lancer, Orthene)
acephate and triforine (Saprene)
azinphos methyl (No longer registered))
chlorpyrifos (Chlorpyriphos, Lorsban, Pychlorex, Spectrum)
diazinon (Basudin, Dew, Diazinyl, Gesapon)
dichlorvos (Nuvos)
dimethoate (Dimezyl, Rogor)
maldison (Malathion, Yates Maldison)
methamidophos (Metafort)
parathion-methyl (No longer registered)
terbufos (No longer regisered)
thimet (Ground Zero, Phorate, Thimet)
Organophosphates + pyrethroids 1B/3 pirimiphos-methyl + permethrin (Attack) mixture
Cyclodiene 2A endosulfan (No longer registered)
Pyrethroid 3 alpha-cypermethrin (Bestseller, Dominex, Fastac)
bifenthrin (Talstar)
deltamethrin (Decis Forte, Deltaphar)
taufluvalinate (Mavrik, Supershield, Guardall)
Pyrethrins 3 pyrethrum (Garlic & Pyrethrum)
Chloronicotinyl 4A imidacloprid (Confidor 5GR, Gaucho)
Feeding blocker 9B pymetrozine (Chess)

Current status of green peach aphid resistance in New Zealand

In New Zealand, insecticide resistance was considered responsible for failures to control green peach aphid in field trials in potatoes (Fellowes & Ferguson 1974). Insecticide resistance was confirmed with bioassays (Cameron & Walker 1988). Resistance in greenhouse populations has also been demonstrated (Baker 1978). These studies record resistance to acephate, deltamethrin, demeton-s-methyl, dichlorvos, dimethoate, lindane, maldison, methomyl, mevinphos, naled, parathion methyl and pirimicarb. In the Pukekohe area, growers have reported the failure of demeton-s-methyl to control green peach aphid.

Insecticide resistance by green peach aphid is widespread in Europe, Japan, North America, and Australia. There are records of resistance to organophosphates, organochlorines, carbamates and synthetic pyrethroids, but methamidophos, pirimicarb and methomyl have retained their effectiveness in several regions.

Resistance management and prevention strategy

The general strategy is to reduce the need for control of green peach aphid by reducing virus sources and aphid reservoirs. Selection pressure on aphids in crops can then be reduced by applying insecticides only when necessary to reduce feeding damage.

Table 2: Products with label claims for Myzus persicae, green peach aphid (GPA), in New Zealand (October 2002). Not all products listed for each pesticide may have a label claim for all crops indicated. Pesticide category and IRAC chemical group are in bold. Product names are in Table 1.
 Type of label claim for each crop1
Pesticide category
and IRAC chemical group

Pesticide common and (product) names
Beans Lettuce Peas Potatoes Tomatoes Vegetable and forage brassicas Vegetable crops Stonefruit Strawberries Tamarillo Fruit crops Ornamentals/flowers
Aphidius colmani             A in GH         A in GH
Aphidoletes aphidimyza             A in GH         A in GH
Mineral oil
mineral oil             A A        
Carbamates 1A
methomyl GPA GPA     GPA GPA in VB     A     GPA
pirimicarb GPA GPA GPA GPA GPA GPA   GPA        
Organo-phosphate 1B
acephate   A   A   GPA in VB       A   A
acephate and triforine                       A
azinphos methyl (no longer registered)               A        
chlorpyrifos           A A in SQ A       A
diazinon A A     A A in VB A in ON A A A A in CIT A
dichlorvos           A A   A A   A
dimethoate     A A   CA in VB, A in FB     A in BF      
maldison           A A A       A
methamidophos A     A                
parathion-methyl (no longer registered)             A       A  
terbufos (no longer registered)           A in FB            
thimet        A A A A in CCB         A
organo-phosphates + pyrethroids 1B/3
pirimiphos-methyl + permethrin (Attack) mixture         A in GH A in VB A in GH CCB         A
Cyclodiene 2A
endosulfan (no longer registered)       A A A in VB     A     A
Pyrethroid 3
alpha-cypermethrin         A     GPA        
bifenthrin         A   A in CCB         A
deltamethrin             A in SQ          
tau-fluvalinate         GPA   GPA GPA       A
Pyrethrins 3
pyrethrum (Garlic & Pyrethrum)             A       A A
Chloronicotinyl 4A
imidacloprid (Confidor 5GR)             A in TSP         A in TSP
imidacloprid (Gaucho)       A   A in FB A in SQ          
Feeding blocker 9B
pymetrozine               GPA        

1A = aphids, GPA = green peach aphid (Myzus persicae), CA = cabbage aphid, VB = vegetable brassicas, FB = forage brassicas, BF = berry fruit, CCB = cucurbits, GH = greenhouses, TSP = transplants, CIT = citrus, SQ = squash, ON = onions.

Research strategy

The distribution of resistance among the major cropping areas should be assessed regularly.



Baker RT 1978. Insecticide resistance in green peach-potato aphid Myzus persicae (Sulz.) (Hemiptera: Aphididae). New Zealand Journal of Experimental Agriculture 6: 77-82.

Blackman RI, Devonshire AL 1978. Further studies of the genetics of the carboxylesterase regulatory system involved in resistance to organophosphorous insecticides in Myzus persicae (Sulzer). Pesticide Science 9: 517-521.

Cameron PJ 1996. Green peach aphid resistance management strategy. In: Bourdot GW, Suckling DM ed. Pesticide Resistance: Prevention and Management. New Zealand Plant Protection Society, Lincoln, New Zealand. Pp. 207-209.

Cameron PJ, Walker GP 1988. Insecticide resistance in green peach aphid from potatoes in South Auckland. Proceedings of the 41st New Zealand Weed & Pest Control Conference: 85-89.

Fellowes RW, Fergusson AM 1974. Field evidence for resistance to certain insecticides to green peach-potato aphid in South Auckland. New Zealand Journal of Experimental Agriculture 2: 83-88.