The Asian Woolly Hackberry Aphid
The Asian Woolly Hackberry Aphid:
A New Aphid Species in Alabama
Dr. Wayne Brewer, Professor and Extension Entomologist
Department of Entomology
A new aphid pest of Hackberry has been discovered in Alabama. The Asian woolly hackberry aphid was collected from hackberry trees in Tuscumbia by Charles Andrews, ACES County Agent in Colbert County. The aphids were identified by Dr. David Voegtlin, an aphid specialist at the Illinois Natural History Survey, asShivaphis celti Das. This aphid is relatively new to the Western Hemisphere. It was first reported in Florida by Flewellyn W. Podris, a plant inspector with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. We have since learned that this species was also collected in suction traps located in Red Hill, Alabama in October of 1997. The collection was made by Frank Wood, County Agent in Marshall County, who is working with Dr. Kathy Flanders on an aphid survey project.
Additional information regarding the biology of the aphid was provided by Dr. Susan Halbert, of the Florida Department of Agriculture. According to Dr. Halbert, the aphid generally infests the undersides of hackberry leaves. The woolly hackberry aphids are covered with a bluish white waxy “wool,” which probably helps to protect them from natural enemies and desiccation. These aphids are reported to be very numerous in the Gainesville, FL area.
In Alabama, Mr. Andrews and AU entomologist Wayne Brewer, found very heavy infestations on hackberry trees in Tuscumbia (Colbert County). The aphids were flying in large numbers in some parts of Tuscumbia and were described by some residents as looking like “flying pieces of cotton.” Leaves of heavily infested trees were covered with honeydew and black sooty mold. According to Dr. Halbert, it is not known whether heavy infestations will damage trees, but at this time the heavy infestations seem to be nothing more than a nuisance, causing little if any damage to the trees.
For more information, call your county Extension office. Look in your telephone directory under your county’s name to find the number.