How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines



Scientific names: Walnut aphid: Chromaphis juglandicola
Dusky-veined aphid: Callaphis juglandis

(Reviewed 12/07, updated 3/11)

In this Guideline:


Two aphid species that may damage walnut trees are the walnut aphid and the dusky-veined aphid. Their seasonal development is very similar, but their appearance and behavior are quite different. The walnut aphid was once a major pest in walnuts but now is mostly controlled by an introduced parasitic wasp. Since the biological control of the walnut aphid, the dusky-veined aphid has become a pest in some orchards.

Walnut aphids are easily distinguishable from dusky-veined aphids. They are much smaller and are typically found scattered on the lower side of leaves. Dusky-veined aphids feed in rows along the midvein on the upper leaf surface. During spring and summer, adult females are commonly winged, and their wings have distinctive dusky markings along the veins. Nymphs of the dusky-veined aphid have dark, banded spots on the back. These spots are much less pronounced or absent on the nymphs of the walnut aphid. In the last few years, a white form (morph) of the walnut aphid has been found in the Sacramento Valley. Populations of the white morph build later in the season than normal-colored ones.

The life cycle of these two species is basically the same. Both aphids overwinter in the egg stage on twigs. Eggs hatch as soon as leaf buds of early cultivars begin to open. These aphids settle on the leaflets, mature, and reproduce without mating, giving birth to live nymphs. The aphids pass through many generations a year, depending upon temperature. In fall, wingless females mate with smaller, winged males and lay the overwintering eggs.


Aphid feeding can reduce tree vigor and nut size, yield, and quality. Aphids excrete honeydew. Sooty mold growing on the honeydew turns the husk surface black, and increases the chance for sunburn on exposed nuts. High populations of aphids may lead to leaf drop, exposing more nuts to sunburn, which darkens or shrivels the kernels.

Walnut aphid populations of over 15 aphids per leaflet early in the season reduce nut yield and quality and cause an increase in nuts with perforated shells. An infestation in summer lowers the nut quality. Some late cultivars, such as Franquette, may tolerate heavy populations.

Feeding by dusky-veined aphids causes the midribs of leaves to turn black. A correlation has been established between infestation of dusky-veined aphids and nut quality. If 10 to 15% of the leaflets are infested for 3 to 4 weeks before shell hardening, nut size is decreased. The same level of infestation during late summer will result in shriveled kernels at harvest time.


In most orchards, walnut aphids are kept below damaging levels by an introduced parasitic wasp in combination with other naturally occurring biological control agents. However, if broad-spectrum insecticides are applied to control other pests such as codling moth, outbreaks of walnut aphid may occur. Predation often effectively controls the dusky-veined aphid as well, but it may require treatment in some orchards some years. A monitoring program is available for following the populations of both aphid species and for detecting damaging levels that may require treatment.

Biological Control
The introduced parasitic wasp, Trioxys pallidus, has reduced the need for chemical control of walnut aphid. Only a small percentage of orchards require treatment for walnut aphid, except when the parasite is disrupted by treatments for other pests. The use of oil during the growing season has also been shown to be destructive of Trioxys. Although the dusky-veined aphid is occasionally parasitized, rates of parasitism are not high enough to effectively control this aphid, although predators can be effective.

The adult female parasite lays eggs inside the small walnut aphid. Eggs hatch and the parasitic larva consumes the insides of the aphid, which turns tan in color and becomes "mummified." The presence of aphid mummies is an indication the parasite is present. After the parasite pupates, the adult wasp emerges from the aphid mummy by chewing a small exit hole.

Populations of Trioxys have been found to be affected by native hyperparasites. Hyperparasitism (the parasitism of a parasite) has been found to be greatest in unsprayed orchards and orchards with codling moth-tolerant tree varieties that require fewer treatments than other walnut varieties. Treatment materials used for other pests, such as codling moth and walnut husk fly, that effectively control this hyperparasite are chlorpyrifos (Lorsban), esfenvalerate (Asana), phosmet (Imidan), and spinosad (Entrust, Success), but all of them have a negative impact on spider mites.

Predators such as lady beetles, including the Asian multicolored lady beetle and ashy gray lady beetle, lacewings, and flies play an important role in the natural control of the dusky-veined aphid. They also feed on walnut aphid, but the parasite keeps the population of that aphid so low that predators seldom build up to large numbers on walnut aphid populations.

Organically Acceptable Methods
Reliance on biological control is the main management method in an organically certified crop. Oil sprays may help suppress populations.

Monitoring and Treatment Decisions
Begin sampling in May and continue throughout shoot and nut growth by taking 5 first-subterminal leaflets (each compound leaf has five leaflets) from 10 trees for a total sample of 50 leaflets. Check the upper surface of each leaflet for dusky-veined aphids and the lower surface for walnut aphids.

  • Walnut aphid: Walnut aphid populations will often increase rapidly if chemicals are applied that interfere with biological control or if the hyperparasites are not controlled. Consider treatments for walnut aphid if the average number of healthy (non-parasitized) aphids found on the underside of subterminal leaflets of early, heavy-bearing varieties is over 15 per leaflet. Keep records (PDF) of your observations.
  • Dusky-veined aphid: Treatments should be considered for dusky-veined aphid whenever an average of 10% of the subterminal leaflets have dusky-veined colonies of six or more feeding on their upper surface along the midvein.
Common name Amount to Use** R.E.I.+ P.H.I.+
(trade name) (conc.) (dilute) (hours) (days)

The following materials are listed in order of usefulness in an IPM program, taking into account efficacy and impact on natural enemies and honey bees. When choosing a pesticide, also consider information relating to environmental impact.
  (Provado 1.6F) 3.5–7 fl oz 0.875–1.75 fl oz 12 7
  (Assail 70WP) 1.1–4.1 oz 0.271–1 oz 12 14
  COMMENTS: Make no more than 4 applications/season. Do not exceed 0.72 lb a.i./acre/season.
  (Lorsban 4EC) 4 pt 1 pt 24 14
  COMMENTS: Make no more than 2 applications/season. Levels in surface waters of this material that are high enough to be toxic to certain aquatic invertebrates have occurred following rains; runoff into surface waters can occur when rain is abundant. Certain formulations emit high amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs); use low-VOC formulations (PDF). Regulations affect use for the San Joaquin Valley from May 1 to October 31, 2015 and 2016. Review the Department of Pesticide Regulation's updated fact sheet (PDF).
  (Imidan 70WP) 6 lb 1–2 lb 7 days 28
  COMMENTS: Do not apply after husk split. Has a residual of about 21 days. Do not apply more than 8.5 lb/acre/application or more than 5 times/season. Buffer to a pH of 5.5–6.0.
E. NARROW RANGE OIL# 1% see label see label
  MODE OF ACTION: Contact including smothering and barrier effects.
  COMMENTS: Use of oil during the growing season can be harmful to the aphid parasite, Trioxys pallidus. Helps to suppress aphid populations. More effective on populations of dusky vein aphid than walnut aphid. (Oils should not be used on walnut during the dormant season, between bud break and shoot elongation, or on drought-stressed trees; also, do not apply after husk split.) Check with certifier to determine which products are organically acceptable.
1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action Group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action Group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a Group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B Group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a Group number other than 1B. Mode of action Group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee). For additional information, see their Web site at
** For concentrate application, use the amount given in 80–100 gal water/acre, or lower if the label allows; for dilute application, amount is per 100 gal water to be applied in 300–500 gal water/acre, according to label.
+ Restricted entry interval (R.E.I.) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (P.H.I.) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of these two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest may occur.
* Permit required from county agricultural commissioner for purchase or use.
# Acceptable for use on organically grown crops.




[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Walnut
UC ANR Publication 3471

Insects and Mites

  • C. Pickel, UC IPM Program/UC Cooperative Extension, Sutter/Yuba counties
  • J. A. Grant, UC Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County
  • W. J. Bentley, UC IPM Program/Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
  • J. K. Hasey, UC Cooperative Extension, Sutter/Yuba counties
  • W. W. Coates, UC Cooperative Extension, San Benito County
  • R. A. Van Steenwyk, Insect Biology, UC Berkeley
Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:
  • W. H. Olson, UC Cooperative Extension, Butte County
  • L. C. Hendricks, UC Cooperative Extension, Merced County
  • G. S. Sibbett, UC Cooperative Extension, Tulare County

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