Maybe you have spotted it around your garden, tiny white fuzzy flying bug, flying all over the place, and it is not pretty at all.
These are called aphids; they don’t bite, but they are a distasteful sight to look at. Not only are they bad to look at, but they also fly around sticking to your clothes, your hair, your face, and anything else they come across.
These teeny weeny aphids get very active in early fall and are practically all over the place in East Tennessee.
Most people, especially gardeners, wonder what these tiny white flying bugs are, where they are coming from, and how can we eliminate them? These white fuzzy bugs are a particular type of aphid known as the Asian Wooly Hackberry aphid.
These aphids do not bite, but they suck the sap out of leaves without digesting all of them. Some of that sugary substrate is left floating and settles underneath the hackberry tree. You may have seen the black mouldy looking substance that they leave behind on the leaves of certain trees or your car. That is known as sooty mould, a fungus that grows in substrate left behind by aphids.
The Fuzzy White Bug Mess
These aphids create a sticky, messy situation that no one wants to come across. Some areas are full of large quantities of small white fuzzy flying bugs during the fall. These tiny creatures are not fully covered by the white fluff; they are wrapped in fluffy wool-like substance.
These aphids are not poisonous or dangerous to humans, but they are considered a nuisance. The irritation comes from a substance they produce called honeydew that creates a messy, sticky situation.
These aphids feed on plant juices using their mouthparts called stylets. These plant juices create a sticky substance left behind on trees, grass, and shrubs. These sticky juices can quickly become an annoyance, especially for homeowners who have trees close to walkways or foot trafficked areas.
Where there is a concentration of the sticky substances, you will see more ants and flies than usual when these aphids are at the scene. This makes the messy, sticky situation worse and causes more frustration with the presence of flies and ants.
Ants and flies love the honeydew so much that they protect these aphids from predators to ensure nothing messes their supply.
Honeydew evolves into a sooty mold that is a black, dry coating and sticks to plant leaves. The sooty mold spreads to other plants within a few days. The sooty mold does not hurt your tree, but it makes the leaves look diseased, and it’s not pretty to look at.
Damage Caused By The White Fuzzy Flying Bug
The heavy presence of the fuzzy flying bug is popular in May and June, with big colonies of white aphids on the foliage or twigs.
Their presence may cause some alarm as they can cause permanent damage to your plants. Some infected leaves may fold downward or droop and eventually shrivel and drop prematurely.
This effect does not reduce the vigour of healthy trees. Sooty mould and honeydew cause problems on cars and buildings underneath or on heavily infested trees in other parts of the country except for Iowa.
These aphids are an important resource that most agricultural advisors ask farmers not to destroy as they are natural biological controls such as lady beetles, lacewings, hoverflies, and parasitic wasps. Gardeners should tolerate these aphids and encourage beneficial insects because they have some advantages.
The white fuzzy flying bug adults are a wonderment, intriguing, and not harmful. During migration, adults suck on the plants and produce honeydew on the maples.
What Can We Do About The White Fuzzy Flying Bug?
Increased infestation requires treatment that comes in two options – plant removal or use of an insecticide. Both methods are expensive to use, and removal is not always the first option that gardeners think of.
There is no aphid spray to keep these insects off you like the mosquito spray, but they won’t stick on you for long. The first frost day always drives them away in time for stink bugs to come.
If you cannot eradicate them and you don’t like seeing them in your garden, it’s best to call a professional.
Sometimes you may notice these aphids are sucking all the nutrients out of your trees, causing your plants stunted growth. Don’t wait until your trees or crops die from the destruction; you can call in a professional as soon as you notice these bugs and have the problem sorted out.
To prevent this problem, you can have it treated each year. Even if you notice that the adult aphids die during the winter, their eggs remain and ensures another generation of these aphids reproduce in the coming year. By estimation, a female white fuzzy bug can produce at least 6 billion offspring during the course of 1 year.
Ask any random person; nobody wants to find a bug in their home. It can be worse if you don’t know what type of bug you come across.
From now on, when you see these tiny white bugs in your house, they could be the white fuzzy flying bug. It is better safe than sorry when it comes to preventing yourself from these insects.
When you notice some of your plants affected early into the fall, it’s best to destroy them as early to avoid passing these insects on to other plants. Destroying the sick plants allows you to stop the reproduction and egg-laying of these insects. Egg-laying is one major way they reproduce, and you can use this method in eliminating them.
Whether these insects are harmless or not, it is best to call the professional as early as possible. The professional help you identify them and deal with them correctly. The pest professionals are trained to identify common home and garden invaders. They not only identify but provide specialized treatment options to protect your home and loved ones.
Enjoy your gardening journey!