ALUMINUM FOIL MULCH REDUCES APHID TRANSMISSION OF CUCUMBER MOSAIC VIRUS IN GLADIOLUS
The virus is commonly transmitted by the feeding of winged aphids. Systemic or foliar insecticide applications are ineffective in preventing spread of the virus, because the aphids feed and move from plant to plant too quickly to be killed before the plant is inoculated. In northern U.S. the highest aphid population and virus transmission is during August, hence late June and July commercial plantings are risky.
In experiments winged aphid populations are measured by yellow water pan aphid traps. Plants are visually indexed for symptoms. Many surfaces were evaluated and aluminum proved best. Aluminum foil mulch over at least 50% of the soil surface repels 90–95% of the aphids and reduces virus spread in plantings. This method provides the most effective control available at present. Aluminum foil mulch is most cheaply and effectively applied as a laminate on paper.