22 November 2008

Wooly, Needle Mouthed Bugs That Leave a Sticky Mess

Jerry Gustafson, Tulsa Master Gardener extraordinaire provided timely information about a recent infestation of Wooly Aphids. They represent another sound reason to encourage beneficial insects in our environment.
A tip of the Fiskars to Jerry for his MG work, reflected in the information below.

Wooly Aphids will twist leaves and turn them yellow. They will eat the twigs on trees and shrubs. They are pear shaped and have needle like mouths. They are covered with white fuzzy stuff and leave sticky sap wherever they eat. Ick.

When enough of them get together on the same plants, they leave a shiny appearance on the plants and anything around the plants. Weak and young trees and shrubs will die or be stunted.

If the Lady Beetles, lacewings and parasitic flies don't move in to dine on the aphids, infested branches can be pruned out, removed from the area and burned or quarantined.
Beneficial insects will come to the rescue. All we have to do is stop spraying chemicals that harm them and plant some food for their reproduction such as: Bridal wreath spirea, pussy willow, cilantro, dandylion, roquette, mustards, false dandylion (early season) and other high pollen producers, like corn, sudex, and sunflowers.

Interested in learning more about beneficials? Try these three clicks.
Only systemic insecticides will kill Wooly Aphids. Acephate can be used but will kill the beneficial insects when they do arrive. Contact insecticides and soap won't cut through the wax to kill these guys. When the infestation becomes controlled, the leaves will remain waxy and curled.

The Oklahoma Biosurvey site of plants and animals found in the state has photos of all creatures great and small including Wooly Aphids.

A North Carolina State Extension fact sheet is the source for some information above.
If you have to resort to Acephate, it can be found in products such as Orthene, Asataf, Pillarthene, Kitron, Aimthane, Ortran, Ortho 12420,Ortril, Chrevron RE 12420, and Orthene 755 (116, 9).

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