I have been reading through these forums trying to figure out what this little bug is, and came across the multiple posts regarding the problem the south is having with the massive infestation of little white fuzzy bugs. I know now this is NOT what I am looking for, nor is it the mealy bug.
I am in extreme southeast Houston, TX (about 30 miles from the ocean) and work in a facility where we have a very large, wooded area in our "backyard" of work. We occasionally walk out there, and there are picnic tables to use for breaks. While out there the other day, we noticed what we THOUGHT was an ant carrying a small tuft of dirty fuzzy stuff. When we looked closer, we realized that is wasn't an ant at all. The bug itself seems to be fuzzy on its back, but it has a body that is tiny and looks somewhat like a small lobster, only it was clear (the one we saw anyhow). The whole bug might have been 1/8th inch long and maybe not quite as wide.
A few days go, one of these little buggers bit a co-worker of mine, and the bite spot has welled up into a rather large bruise as well as a large knot under the skin.
Any ideas on what on earth this thing might be? We are all absolutely perplexed. This creature do not appear to have wings, so I do not believe it is the same bug that is plaguing the south and southeast part of the country, and like those little bugs, we've not ever seen these before around here.
I have the same bugs in my yard, they are on my herbs and all other plants. Are you sure they are not mealy? You are right, it is a grayish little bug carrying a cotton like material and depositing it on the plants. The bug jumps very high. Someone help us with these!
THey're called wooly aphids and they have fuzzy white bodies. I didn't know they could bite or jump. They infected my jasmines. I cut the plants down as soon as I noticed . Then, sprayed the plants with pesticide. But they're still there. I'm thinking of trying ladybugs next.
I've read you can also use some oils to spray on the plants. I've also read that it is best to remove all plants infested bcs these things spread like mad and difficult to treat.
Interesting organisms these fuzzy or mealy bugs. When the bug is mature it seems to disintegrate into hundreds of threads of wooly white stuff which sort of hatch into little baby bugs. Very quickly they swamp the plant they are attached to and infect surrounding plants by their hopping actions.
I read in one link that Bayer has introduced in America a systemic insecticide called "12 month Tree and Shrub Insect Control, but Canada has banned all systemic brands of insecticides and fungicides for fear of polluting our streams and destroying the salmon habitat. So we are left with the less effective contact insecticides or fungicides (in powder or liquid forms) which is more difficult to apply. Ask any nursery and they can recommend you quite a wide choice. If you can spare the time and effort, physically removing them is one option.
I have wondered why these bugs are covered with the wooly white armor. Could they act as a protective or water proof layer that prevents the pesticide from having an effect. I wonder if your ladybugs would avoid these bugs as they may find the armor distasteful or toxic. Please give us your findings on the result you get with the ladybugs.
Growing up as a kid in Western PA, I'd see a few of these little fuzzy white bugs and I thought they were fairies! They do bite. My bites never swelled up or anything, but it does hurt when they bite. We had a huge problem with tent worms in this area and from what I understand, the area got a government grant to release ladybugs to get rid of the tent worms. Well it is a few years later and I haven't seen any little white fuzzy bugs ever! But, I'd also like to say that even though the tent worm infestations improved, many people consider the lady bug solution a failure. Almost everyone's homes for hundreds of miles had problems with lady bugs. They had a guy's house on the news that was entirely covered, without barely an inch uncovered, with ladybugs. They were in our food, bit us and our homes crawled with them on the inside too. They kept flying into our mouths, ears, hair and so on. I know one guy that was hospitalized from a ladybug bite! He was allergic and almost died. Some of the postings on these little white fuzzy bugs remind me of our ladybug problems, so I'd like to say that gaining one pest to get rid of another isn't always the best solution. I'd spray!
Good evening.. are these white fuzzy bugs the same as white flies.. they love our Gardenia bushes.. we have tried everything to kill them.. they are driving my wife crazy.. she has actually rubbed every leaf with all kinds of solutions.. i need her back to help in the garden... lol
I have to agree that what you are describing sounds like aphids... You may have already tried this, but a bit of dish soap in a spray bottle does wonders against those little pests, and doesn't harm the plant. Three drops of "Dawn" and some warm water, spray every affected surface. Wait a day, and see what's left, reapply as needed.
A peculiar phenomenon reported around Iowa during early July, 2000, has been the unmistakable sight of small cottony white fuzz-balls flying through the air under their own power. If you are deft enough to gently catch one of the apparitions you see a plump bluish-black body and transparent wings pulling the cottony tuft through the air.
This is apparently the first year in recent memory for an appearance by the woolly alder aphid...
Last edited by Daniel Mosquin; June 26th, 2007 at 02:42 PM.
Reason: Added link to site, reduced response to a quote from the article instead of entire article. Thank you for posting, though!
I was just looking at a dwarf rhododendron at the Canadian Tire store and saw the tiniest (3-4 mm), fuzzy white things crawling up one of its branches. I've never seen a wooly aphid of any kind. I guess they're loose in Quesnel now! I wonder if they are winter hardy or will die off? I should go back with a bottle and see what they look like magnified...
I have seen 2 of these over the past 2 weeks. White fuzzy, no wings, little pincer and not very symetrical. THe fuzz was orignally white then I put the bug in a jar with a dead lest and the fuzz changed color to match the leaf!!!!!!! I have looked at the pictures of mealys and aphids doesn't really match.
Some of the postings on these little white fuzzy bugs remind me of our ladybug problems, so I'd like to say that gaining one pest to get rid of another isn't always the best solution. I'd spray!
I agree....it was like bringing the Cane Toad into Australia to erradicate the cane beetle, now they are destroying wildlife (by eating them and wildlife that eats them gets poisoned) and are uncontrollable. The only positive thing about it is that crows (ravens) have now learned to flip them on their backs and eat them from the inside out, thus avoiding the poison!!
I am from central michigan and the other day in biology we discovered these fuzzy white bugs on a branch. There were about 25 or so and they didn't fly away. They are not white flies, meely bugs or fuzzy aphids. They have a fuzzy feather that they were arching over thier back and they were all standing on thier front two legs swaying back and forth so that if you didn't look closely they appeared exactly like a dandelion seed. they were pretty small, like the size of a gnat. what is it!!!!!!!
Re: Learn from my mistakes People!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I've had a large 4foot tall indoor gardenia now for a couple of years and I've had every problem you could possibally imagine.
I cleared up a really bad aphid problem with Malathion ( but defoliated the entire tree in two days"
with much care my baby grew back in a few weeks and started to bloom again. to then have a problem with spider mites which I cleared up with
Triple action plus RTU which is a broad spectrum insecticide and fungicide and miticide
This can be used up to the day of harvest if you are transplanting.
this has worked very well,
also I have not tried it but my grandmother also used some sort of fish excrement in the soil. it is suppose to make the new leaves taste bitter to them which makes parasites leave them alone
Although it seems as though soap and water will do the best for indoor plants when i put my gardenia outdoors , NOTHING works better than ladybugs!!
The white bugs that jump are what we call spingtails in Austalia and are hard to control as the jump away when sprayed ,but if you spray with a systemic insecticide (poison that gets into sap) covering the whole crop thats affected ,they will suck the sap and the poison and die,just make note of withholding periods on eadable crops .
Yeah I finally got rid of the damn things about a month ago after spraying my gardenia in the shower at high pressure and literally picking every one off of it then spraying it with soap heavily then cleaning my shower with bleach.
then spraying the tree agian to make sure that all of the bugs are off of it.
I read that misting the tree helps prevent infestations as well.
so it's on a humidifyer now and it is covered with blooms. ( it must be happy)
Yer Hi Derik
I work in a very large garden near Canberra Australia and if i could give you one bit of advice is not to get caught up in the moment ,we are in a rural setting and we get severe drought ,millions of grasshoppers that eat eveything and driying winds,not to mention white cockatoos that strip trees and wombats that dig large holes in the vegie patch ,but it is amazing how quick things come back and some years are worse for certian pests than others ,so i have learnt not to get caught up in the moment otherwise i would dead from stress ,lol,anyway it sounds like you had a good result ,your lucky you can grow gardenias as the frost kills them hear.
Well, this is an interesting thread. I followed Daniel's link to the bug site, but could not find the critter on my rhodos.
Using a 10x loupe, I see a very thin white bug, perhaps 1/8" long. It appears to have two extremely thin legs sticking out the back and a couple of other legs almost randomly placed. I viewed several of them, none seemed to jump. Just sat there not moving. They seem to match AJF's description. I don't see wings.
Without the loupe, all you see is a very thin white line, likely not even 1/8" long.
A couple of weeks ago I tried the 3 in 1 Safer's spray, seemingly without effect.
If this is any help, they are only on one rhodo which is planted in a new garden bed. There are two other rhodos and two azaleas in the same bed, no bugs. At least not the white ones.
A knowledgeable friend has told me that it is weevils which are dining on my rhodo leaves. The BCGov't link she provided concurs. I also found out that where there is salal, and boy do we have salal, there are weevils in profusion.
I had another look this morning with a 10x loupe. This tiny white insect appears to have two fairly long, extremely thin antennae protruding directly forward from the head. And this time I was able to see six legs. The back pair seemed irregularly spaced, that is to say, one stuck out the side, the other out the back. I did not see it move at all. I think it is way too small to show up in a photo, although I may try tomorrow if the weather is a bit more co-operative.