Small, round fluffy bugs

noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)June 29, 2010


I have another bug puzzle and want to see if anyone knows what they are.

I have seen some small, white, fluffy bugs running around on my fig leaves lately. They remind me of guinea pigs, for some reason. Up close, they are not so fluffy--They look like they have dandruff. They are about the size of pencil erasers and I've seen some that are smaller. They run around. I don't know if they're good bugs, or bad bugs. If they're good, I don't want to hurt them. I haven't seen them eating anything. I tried catching one of the larger ones and it ran over the edge of the leaf and underneath, where it fell off and I lost sight of it.

Can anyone identify this bug and tell me its name and if it's good, or bad?



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First thing that comes to mind is woolly aphid. Not a good thing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Woolly aphid

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 6:35PM
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I've not seen any of those type bugs on any of my fig trees. However, those darn June bugs are a pest this year. They've stripped all of the leaves off of my Mary Lane Jelly fig tree.....leaving just the stem skeltons behind.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 8:52PM
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genecolin(Zone 9, LA)

Vivian, I can't say that I've seen any such bugs and hope I don't.

Dan, the junebugs are hitting my LSU Gold and my persimmon tree real bad.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 8:57PM
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I have seen a couple of woolly aphids on my apple trees once but never on my fig trees.

I go outside with my little girl almost every night and pick the junebugs off of my trees. They are terrible this year but we have managed to stay on top of them. Last year they nearly stripped my Scott's Black bare.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 9:24PM
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Around here, white fluffy bugs on figs are usually immature plant hoppers. They coat themselves and the fig branches where they live with a white wax. When you disturb them, they jump. They don't cause much trouble here.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 12:15AM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hi! Thanks for all the input from y'all. I appreciate it very much.

I've looked closely at the pictures of the woolly aphids and the bugs I've seen just don't look like those. I think these bugs are larger and they run, not walk, over the leaf. They are not coating anything because they're too busy running around the leaves. There are not very many of them. I saw one larger one and two smaller ones on the same leaf and they were all running around. That larger one I tried to catch scooted over the edge of the leaf and underneath then fell off of the bottomside of the leaf. I've got to catch one of them so I can really look at it and wouldn't ya know--Now that I want to catch one, do you think I can FIND one of them anywhere? A Guinea pig is what came to mind when I saw those bugs--One of those with the hair that has all the cowlicks in its hair that makes it go all which way. I know that sounds crazy, but...

I haven't seen any wings on these bugs. I'll keep looking for them and see if I can catch one and take a picture of it. Then I will have to see if Mike can help me figure out how to put it on the forum for you to see.

I'm sorry some of you have had such a time of it with the Junebugs. I went out late at night and picked them off the fig tree out back and then I went out and wasn't seeing them anymore. We haven't had many around so far this year. I guess, from what several of you have said, we know where they all are. I'm so sorry that they are tearing up your trees like that. Most of you have more trees than I do and it would be impossible to pick the bugs off of all of them.

Serena, where do you live that the Junebugs are so bad this year?

God bless you and your trees,


    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 2:29AM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hello again,

While putting up the birdnetting this afternoon, I saw one of the fluffy bugs and caught it then put it ito a plastic bag to look at it. It's not white. It just looked like it on the deep green fig leaves. It looks like the stuff that grows on trees and is lichen-like, with different colors that are light, but mostly in shades of gray with some of the dusty greens of lichen. I put the bug under my microscope and it wasn't happy that I pinned it down in the plastic bag. I didn't hurt it--It just didn't like being restrained. It has pincer-like mandibles and it was trying to bite at whatever was pinning it down. I saw no wings, nor did I see those spikes on it like I saw when I looked at the woolly aphid pictures. So, I dunno what it is. They said the aphids are slow-moving and this bug walks quickly. I wish my microscope was capable of taking photos.

Does anything new I've said ring a bell? I just don't want to hurt these bugs if they aren't harmful to the figs, or tree. Another Google search coming up.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 10:56PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Well, DUH--The lichen description brought me right to the bug. It's a lacewing larva. Evidently, the larvae stick things to their backs to disguise them. I saw one picture where the larva had stuck dead ants to its back. What a funny little bug.

The pic I copied didn't show up here, but in the same place, people actually called them lichen bugs and they bite with those pincers! Now I can let the bug go tomorrow. Below is part of what I copied and pasted:

"This looks like an unassuming piece of lichen and debris, right? Wrong! This is a Green Lacewing larva! I found this little critter on our deck today, and it fascinated me. They camouflage by putting bit of lichen, leaf-litter, and who knows what else on their backs! Here are some pics I took, and if you look closely at the one below above, you can see its speckled legs. Have you ever seen some lime green stick-like fly things with fairy-like wings? Those are Green Lacewings."

They didn't say lacewings were harmful to anything.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 11:11PM
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Lacewings are a beneficial insect. Their larva and the adults eat pests.

Lacewings = Good.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 3:34AM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hi Thisisme,

Yes, it's a good thing, unlike woolly aphids. Whew! That little larva was a feisty little thing, slashing around with it's pincer jaws. It showed up well under the ten power of my microscope.

I thought I had added onto my last post what I found out about the larvae and the adult lacewings, that they are desirable and people actually buy them for their gardens, plus their eggs are laid, tiny white eggs, on long stalks so the larvae of the lacewing won't eat the lacewing eggs. I've seen those eggs before and didn't know what they are. Now I do.

I think I must have not hit the submit message button, though.

Thanks everyone for going along on this quest with me.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 3:11AM
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I have been seeing these little bugs on and off for a few weeks now. They are on several different trees in the yard and on 2 out of 12 fig trees. They are also on non-fruit trees in the yard. There is no sign that they are causing any damage.

Does anybody have a clue what they are?
They are about the size of a grain of rice.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 6:43PM
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