Woolly Aphid Control
The woolly aphid is the other mealy bug. The 2 pests are often confused because of their fuzzy white filaments. Control of woolly apple aphids, Eriosoma lanigerum. Natural aphid control.
Close up view of a pair of woolly aphids or fuzz butts.
These insects are commonly called aphids because they are pear-shaped and about 1/8 of an inch long like most aphids. They actually belong to a different family of pests.
Like the aphid, the fuzz butt is a sucking insect. It feeds on the leaves, buds, and bark of maple, elm, ash, pear, apple, pine,
any many other trees and shrubs.
Also like aphid pests, Eriosoma secretes honeydew which attracts ants and is a good growing medium for sooty mold.
This is what a severe woolly aphid infestation looks like.
The bad news is that a severe infestation will cause twisting, curling and yellowing of the leaves. It can also cause branches to die back and sap the plant of its strength causing it to grow weakly or not at all.
The good news is that the woolly aphid has lots of natural enemies.
Green lacewings, lady bugs, parasitic wasps, and hover flies all work to keep their numbers low.
If you are not reducing the numbers of these beneficial insects by overusing chemical pesticides, they will usually prevent you from having much trouble with the fuzz butts.
Wooly Aphid Control
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Minor infestations should be left to the good bugs mentioned above. They will sort it out.
If you have branches that look like the one in the second photo on this page, the easiest thing to do is prune them off. Don't compost them. Bag and barrel the infested twigs instead.
To effect control naturally, you can buy and release good bugs into the growing area.
If you want to use a pesticide, use a systemic insecticide which will be taken up by the plant's roots (avoid using these on fruit trees) or spray with a horticultural oil during the dormant season.
Contact pesticides tend to be ineffective because the pests are protected by the waxy coating on their wool.
Woolly Apple Aphids
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Eriosoma lanigerum is completely covered in wool which causes it to look even more like a mealy bug than other woolly aphid species which only have the white filaments on their hind parts.
The woolly apple aphid feeds on the roots, trunk and twigs of the apple tree. A severe infestation will result in leaves covered in black sooty mold and the insects may even burrow into the developing fruit.
This damage is temporary. Apples are deciduous and will grow new leaves each season anyway. Infested twigs can be pruned off.
The real worry with these pests is the permanent damage they can do to your apple tree's roots.
Their feeding can cause galls to form on the roots much like the root galls that
root knot nematodes cause.
These galls impair the root's ability to take up food and water. The tree goes into a slow decline and ultimately dies.
Most outbreaks of this pest are caused by the inadvertent decimation of its natural enemies by gardeners spraying contact pesticides.
Spray with an all-seasons horticultural oil during the dormant season and again during late summer if the problem persists.
Kill Mealy Bugs
Easy, cheap method for killing mealy bugs (also correctly spelled mealybugs). How to solve or remedy mealybug infestation damage. Citrus mealybug. Mealybug destroyer.
Beet armyworms. Tomato pests. Natural armyworm control. Nontoxic tomato plant pest control that kills armyworms.
Citrus thrips damage only the rind of the fruit. Home growers may ignore mild infestations of Scirtothrips citri but commercial growers will want to control the insects as marred skin renders the fruit unsaleable.
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