mystery bug?

aligailApril 1, 2011

Hi there -

We have a small quince tree that is budding out and looking quite nice. I went out there this afternoon though and noticed tons of tiny little black insects all in the bud/new shoot area. The bugs are very small but seem to have legs and their bodies are long and narrow - not round. There are lots of them in each of the buds. Anyone know what these are? Is there anything I can do to get rid of them? Are they harmful? We have a pear tree nearby that has not budded out yet but I think it has been impacted by pests in the past (its very old - was here when we bought the house).

Thanks for any help!!

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plantknitter(8)

Do they fly at all, or just crawl?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 12:36PM
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Dan Staley

pix help.

Dan

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 12:47PM
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aligail

I didnt notice them flying - they seemed to be mostly just crawling around in there. I will try to get a picture but they are so tiny I am not sure how well it will turn out.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 3:26PM
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larry_gene

The description sounds like thrips, try researching those insects.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 11:45PM
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aligail

Thanks Larry - I think you may be right - thats the closest match I've found anyway. Tried to take pictures of them but couldnt get the camera to focus. They are so tiny - look like little grains of black rice. And definitely not flying anywhere - just crawling around slowly in the buds.

So assuming they are thrips - what should I do about them?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 6:56PM
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larry_gene

Thrips have tiny feathery wings, you would need a magnifying glass to see them clearly.

You could try some insecticidal soap or horticultural oil on a few tree buds to see if that stops them.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 11:38PM
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plantknitter(8)

Might they be pollinators?
Why try to get rid of them if they are not doing any harm?
Can you take some to the extension office to get id's?
I always see very tiny (not even close to being the size of rice) black insects on my magnolia buds and flowers and there is never any damage.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 2:55AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Perhaps -- and most likely -- they're aphids.

If so, wash off and/or squish. Then repeat every several days as needed.

Thrips don't have that habit nor would they be that obvious to the naked eye.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 1:18PM
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