Sunday, June 24, 2012

What To Do With The Woolly Alder Aphid

Woolly alder aphid
woolly alder aphid april 2003 resized
 Woolly alder aphids
Woolly alder aphids don't harm your trees too much, but it is best to try to get rid of them. 
The aphids were found in colonies on the branches of European alder (Alnus glutinosa). Aphids are small (about 1/12 of an inch long) and are identified by their sucking mouthparts, long, thin legs, long antennae, pear-shaped body, and pair of tube-like structures (called cornicles) emerging from their abdomen that look somewhat like tailpipes. Two hosts are needed to complete their life cycle: alders and silver maples. The eggs are usually laid in fall in the bark of the maples. When the young hatch in spring, they collect on leaves and reproduce. Their offspring fly to alders and collect on the twigs where new generations develop. They are small and covered with white waxy hairs. In fall, they will fly back to the silver maples to lay eggs. They do little damage.
To manage an infestation of aphids is a rather easy task.  Aphids can be dislodged from plants using a strong jet of water from the hose. Doing this periodically will keep the aphid populations low and allow the parasites and predators to build up to effective control levels.
Here are a few good websites for more information:

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