One common mistake that often arises is the misidentification of aphid species. Correctly identifying aphids is critical when treating a crop with natural enemies, especially when using aphid parasitoids due to their dependency on the aphid species.

The majority of all aphid samples brought to us from indoor cannabis crops is either the cannabis aphid (Phorodon cannabis) or the rice root aphid (Rhopalosiphum rufiabdominale). Here are seven ways to properly identify the cannabis aphid (P. cannabis): 

1. For ID purposes, it’s crucial to use wingless adults for identification. Winged-adults and nymphs don’t always display defining characteristics required for proper ID. 

a cannabis aphid on a cannabis leaf

2. Three longitudinal lines are often visible on the dorsal (top) side of the abdomen; however, these lines can be very difficult to see.

A cannabis aphid and its three longitudinal lines

3. MOST IMPORTANT: There will be two finger horn like projections (antennal tubercles) at the base of each antenna. These can be visible with a 10x hand lens and good lighting. 

 two antennal tubercles (horn like projections) on a cannabis aphid 

4. Bulbous (swollen) hairs on the horn like projections are also present.

Bulbous hairs on a cannabis aphid under a microscope

5. Their cornicles are white and almost 1/3 of their body length.

 

 

6. Do not rely on the color of the aphid. Colors will range from a cream color to pale yellow during a long photoperiod (long day length) and will change to a light green or brown during a shortened photoperiod. 
      A cannabis leaf covered in aphids

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