This insect overwinters in the egg stage on plant stems. Eggs hatch in early spring, and the insects feed by sucking out the plant juices, which results in stunted and distorted new growth. As leaves continue to develop they will be crinkled, with down-turned edges. Areas between veins on the upper leaf surface may be reddened. As the aphids feed, they excrete excess sugar and water in small droplets called honeydew. Ants may feed on the honeydew, and a black fungus— sooty mold—often grows on it. The aphids themselves are small (up to about 2 mm) and green, and usually are found in colonies. Other aphid species also occasionally feed on currants and gooseberries.
Aphids are often kept under good natural control by predators such as lady beetles and lacewings, small parasitic wasps, and even some insect diseases. In some areas or during certain years, these natural controls may not be adequate, and you may choose to use a chemical spray. Dormant sprays are effective, as is malathion or rotenone applied when the aphids are first seen. Insecticidal soap is also effective, but spray coverage must be thorough.
Was this article helpful?