You might notice that your tree presents with a fluffy, white, cottony looking growth on it. A curious thing, indeed, at least for me. Then, I find out there is probably a colony of Woolly Aphids. Woolly Aphids get their name from the fluffy, wax-like substance which covers their bodies and serves as a deterrent to other predators. At first glance, you might think it is a fuzzy mold. However, we are dealing with something simpler. Keep reading and find out more information about these pests and some simple methods to get rid of them.
Woolly Aphids are basically a type of sucking insect that lives on the fluid of plants and trees. Adults are approximately 2 mm in length and are a pinkish brown color. Each adult can produce up to five live young per day. The young Woolly Aphids are green or blue in color. After a few generations winged adults develop to spread to new branches and nearby trees.
Now, from a distance, Woolly Aphids can appear to be a fuzz or moldy growth on the tree branch. However, if you do a close-up on your tree, it will show tiny black dots amongst the fuzzy, white, cottony substance. Those dots are the bodies of the Woolly Aphids.
Regarding their fluffy stuff, that is the waxy secretions that cling to their bodies. These secretions blow in the breeze adding to the appearance of cotton or wool growing on the branch.
How can we get rid of them?
Having Woolly Aphids is not a major cause for concern. Severe cases are extremely rare and getting rid of a colony of them is quite simple. Thus, first off, you need to check out for the host plant or tree which may show signs of a growth, curling of the leaves, browning or wilting.
Then, the best solution is also the quickest and most inexpensive. It’s a garden hose with the nozzle set on full blast. Spraying them will knock them to the ground and they will be unable to return to the host. You can do this every few days until you no longer see any signs of them.
Another simple method is spraying them with soapy water and rubbing them off with a brush, rag or sponge.
However, you should keep in mind that you should not use any type of pesticide on them. Pesticides will do more damage to beneficial insects in your yard or garden than they will to the Woolly Aphids.