Aphidoletes aphidimyza (Rondani)
Common name: Aphid midge.
Geographical distribution: A native to North America, the midge is now also present in South America, Europe, the Middle East, Japan and New Zealand.
Morphology: The red-brown adults are about 2-3 mm in length, with long legs and antennae. The larvae are 2-3 mm long, bright orange to red, their legless bodies becoming narrower towards the head
Life history: The adults, which fly at night, efficiently locate aphid colonies, wherein they place about 150 or more eggs/female. Oviposition is mostly influenced by the location and density of the aphid colonies on the plant (new growth vs. old), less by the perceived quality of the prey species, and more eggs are produced under dim light conditions. The hatching larvae rapidly locate and feed on the aphids, paralyzing each by sucking from their legs. The mature larvae drop to the soil where they spin a cocoon in which they pupate. The adults usually emerge after sunset and mate as they hang from spider webs. The midges, which feed on aphid honeydew, live for 1-2 weeks and a life cycle requires 3-4 week at 21°C. Under low light conditions, the predator may enter diapause.
Economic importance: Aphidoletes aphidimyza is an important component of IPM programs in many countries. It is most often used to control aphids in commercial greenhouses, and also in orchards, shade trees, home and botanical gardens. It attacks over 60 species of aphids, being an important predator of various pestiferous species. Each larva can kill up to 50 aphids/day in dense colonies, due to the fact that it kills more prey than it actually consumes. The predator is mass reared in several countries by several companies and often sold as 1,000 pupae/tube. The larvae may be stored for several months at low temperatures (5°C) and survive without reductions in their fecundity. Preying on aphids infesting tansgenic potatoes had no adverse effects.
Effect of Pesticides: Most pesticides, including an insect growth regulator, are moderately to very toxic to A. aphidimyza, the adults being more susceptible than the larvae. Bacillus thuringiensis and fungicides had no effect.
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Rizk, A. M. 2017. Releasing impact of the predatory gall midge, Aphidoletes aphidimyza (Rondani) (Diptera: Cecidomydae) on suppressing the population of the cotton aphid, Aphis gossypii (Glover) on cucumber plants. Egyptian Journal of Biological Pest Control 27: 143-148.
Stara, J., Ourednickova, J. and Kocourek, F. 2011. Laboratory evaluation of the side effects of insecticides on Aphidius colemani (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae), Aphidoletes aphidimyza (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), and Neoseiulus cucumeris (Acari: Phytoseidae). Journal of Pest Science 84: 25–31.