woolly aphids control

natalie4b(7b GA)June 19, 2009

There is a lot of these guys all around my garden. Stems are covered with this white stuff, especially areas under flowers - roses, echinaceas, lilies, etc. When you touch it - small white bugs jump out of it. So, I think they are woolly aphids.

Is there an organic way to get rid of them, or at least decrease/stop their population? If not, what are the best chemicals to treat the garden with? And prevention: what to do in a future?

Thank you!


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Hi Natalie -

I've been mixing up Neem oil and using that as a spray. A half thimble of oil to 2 cups of water and a few drops of dish washing liquid. Seems to do the trick on quite a number of bugs.

I found Neem oil at my local garden center but it was quite expensive. Avoid the premixed versions because once mixed, it doesn't store well and will not be very effective against bugs.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 3:30PM
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natalie4b(7b GA)

thank you so much! I will get some Neem oil asap, because it seems the bugs multiply like crazy.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 4:58PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Woolly aphids don't jump. Perhaps they're flatid planthoppers instead?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 10:40PM
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natalie4b(7b GA)

Jean, you are probably right. I am not an expert in pests by any means, and jumped to conclusions by reading on the internet.
My offenders are definitely jumpers.
So, how do I proceed?
Thank you bunches!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 10:20AM
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Wooly Aphids, aka Mealy Bugs, are cousins of Aphids and like Aphids the Mealy Bugs can be knocked off plants with a sharp stream of water. Starting a control program with one of the broad spectrum poisons, such as the Neem products, could well kil off any predators of Mealy Bugs (the Mealy Bug Killers, which resemble their prey) as well as the target insect.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 7:28AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Neem is not a broad spectrum poison. Predatory insects are not likely to be affected. Kimmsr remains consistently confused on this issue.

If you do decide to use neem, please read and follow the dosing instruction on the container rather than "a half thimble of oil". There are many formulations of neem on the market and the directions for mixing may be quite different.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 11:56AM
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Use insecticidal soap. It kills all small and soft bodied insects.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 8:12PM
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natalie4b(7b GA)

Insecticidal soap I have - will give it a go.
Thank you all!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 8:20PM
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Anyone that thinks any pesticide is able to distinguish between a "good" or a "bad" insect and kill the "bad" insects and not harm the "good" insects is delusional. If you spray a predator insect with Neem you will kill that insect.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 7:31AM
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Contrary to your narrow beliefs, there are many pesticides that are very selective on killing the "bad" insects and leaving the good ones alone. Not all pesticides work via contact and ingestion...many are ingestion alone. If the good insect is not consuming the given plant, how would it be killed???


    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 9:49AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Kimmsr, you don't douse all of the insects with Neem. You mist the foliage. But even if our beneficials were to come into direct contact with neem, damage would be limited. As schmoo and an dozen others have tried to explain to you, neem needs to be ingested.

Wooly aphids are aphids, not mealybugs. Sometimes, adelgid species are mistaken for wooly aphids, as are wooly scale and other species. There are also species of plant hoppers that are 'wooly' and jumpy. Many of these pest insects can be persistent, not easily sprayed off with water.

I think that I'd go after these insects with the insecticidal soap, which can get through that 'wool', often containing zillions of eggs. My applicator would be a hand sprayer or pump sprayer, which I could use to direct the pesticide to the pest. Insecticidal soap, which IS a broad spectrum pesticide, must come into contact with the insect in order to affect it. Spray the heck out of those wooly critters!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 11:34AM
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Hi, I have something that looks a lot like a wooly aphid, but it flies around my house. I live across the street from the Rowena Reservoir in LA, and I think the open water attracts them . .in any case I don't think there is foliage I can spray . .maybe it's another bug? or is there something else anyone can suggest?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 7:30PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Sorry, Chava, but we can't help you with the information you've given us. Unless you can capture some of these insects and take a couple of good pictures, I don't know that we can identify them.

For example, is this critter flying around your house on the outside or inside?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 10:25PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Well I'm not confused but I'm not defending anyone either. Neem affects different bugs in different ways. It can be an antifeedant/deterrent, it can kill bugs that ingest it (due to starvation) and it can smother small soft bodied insects. I've seen aphids die almost instantaneously after being sprayed and I'm sure it "can" affect small predators in the same way. I wouldn't be surprised if predators could also be affected by eating pests that have ingested neem.

If you have done tests telling you otherwise or have links to test results telling you otherwise (from a reliable source) then by all means post those results.

As with any pesticide timing is everything. Spray in the early morning long before sunrise or in the evening after sunset (longer exposure before sunrise) when flying predators have vacated the area.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 1:04PM
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