Black Cherry Aphid (Aphids)

General Description


Sweet and sour cherries.


Leaves - Terminal leaves curled inwards (sweet cherry only) (Fig. 1); much honeydew present within the curled leaf and on adjacent lower leaves. Severely infested leaves turn brown and drop.

Figure 1. Cherry leaves damaged by black cherry aphid feeding. (H. Philip)


Branches - Young shoots twisted and deformed; growth of young trees slowed.

Fruit - Honeydew on fruit supports growth of sooty mold, rendering fruit unmarketable. Fruit size can be reduced under heavy pest pressure.


Egg - Shiny black, oval.

Nymph and adult - Nymphs are amber to dark brown to black in colour; winged and wingless adults are dark brown to black (Fig. 2). It is the only dark-coloured aphid attacking sweet cherry.


Figure 2. Colony of black cherry aphids. (H. Philip)

Life History

The black cherry aphid overwinters as eggs on the bark or buds. Eggs hatch just before bud break in the spring. After several generations feeding on leaves, winged adults migrate to summer hosts (plants of mustard family). Few if any aphids remain on trees after mid-summer. Winged adults return to cherry in the fall where they mate and lay overwintering eggs.


Examine trees during and shortly after bud break for presence of black cherry aphids.


Biological Control

Several species of predatory insects and parasitic wasps attack black cherry aphids. Dormant oil sprays have the least impact on these biocontrol agents.

Chemical Control

There is no treatment threshold established for black cherry aphid.

Recommended timing and products: