Why there are so many little black bugs buzzing around the Interior this year - InfoNews

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Why there are so many little black bugs buzzing around the Interior this year

The Thompson-Okanagan is overrun with aphids this September.
September 06, 2017 - 6:30 PM

You can’t walk very far these days without getting a small, winged insect stuck in your hair or in your eye ball. And forget about wearing yellow, or you’ll look like bug-man.

So, what are these little insects and why are there so many of them this summer?

Fed Steele, president of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association, says they are a type of aphid.

“They refuse to die this year,” he says. “I expected them to disappear a month ago.”

As is the case with many insects, Steele suspects the long stretch of hot, dry weather led to an extra hatch this year.

“All these things are brought on by heat. They lay their eggs and have an extra incubation period. It’s due to this long, relentless heat, without any cooling off,” Steele says.

Steele says the aphids are more of a nuisance right now than a problem for this year's crops — although they could affect the buds for next year.

Dr. Robert G. Foottit, an Ottawa-based researcher, says the aphid is likely Nasonovia ribis-nigri, common name, the Currant-lettuce aphid, which overwinters on currant then migrates to a range of summer hosts including Petunia, Nicotiana and species of Lactuca or lettuce.

"Aphid populations can build up in numbers as the summer goes on, particularly if there is warm weather. When the aphid colonies become crowded the aphids will produce winged forms that can colonize new host plants. Later in the season, they will produce winged forms that go back to the winter host and produce an overwintering egg stage. In general, under ideal conditions, it is not uncommon for aphids to produce noticeable “clouds” of winged forms," Foottit says. 

Aphids at a property in the Shuswap.
Aphids at a property in the Shuswap.
Image Credit: Sue and Alan Bates

Image Credit: Greg Janis

Image Credit: Denni Lauren

Image Credit: Nicole Elynuik Dolfo
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— This story was updated at 8:35 p.m. Sept. 6, 2017 to correct a spelling mistake and again at 8:17 a.m. Sept. 7, 2017 to add a quote from Dr. Robert Foottit. 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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