Asian Woolly Hackberry Aphid

You need a magnifying glass to see the insect under all that "snow."
Hackberry Aphid

Hackberry Aphid

Asian wooly hackberry aphids are common garden pests.

Asian wooly hackberry aphids are common garden pests.

Related To:

Chances are you may not recognize this critter up close. Where the Asian woolly hackberry aphid is most prevalent in early fall — the Southeast and parts of the southern Midwest, Texas and California — residents have called in with reports of "flying snow" or "flying cotton." These tiny (2 mm. long) insects are covered with a thick layer of bluish-white waxy wool. If it weren't for the insect's antennae, you'd need a magnifying glass to see that there's a bug under all that "snow."

Wooly Hackberry Aphids

Wooly Hackberry Aphids

Asian wooly hackberry aphids are small white bugs and annoying garden pests.

Asian wooly hackberry aphids are small white bugs and annoying garden pests.

In the spring and summer, the females are parthenocarpic — that is, they reproduce without males; they give live birth to their young, and there can be multiple generations. The females can be either winged or wingless. In the fall, the winged males are produced, mating with the females to create eggs that will overwinter.

A native of China, this woolly aphid was accidentally brought into the U.S. in the late 1990s and can be found on sugarberry and hackberry trees. It's not usually considered a serious pest of the trees (its host plants have survived repeated infestations), but it produces large quantities of sticky honeydew, which can in turn promote the growth of sooty mold. So the aphid isn't an agricultural or a garden pest, but it can be an inconvenient nuisance if you happen to have hackberries that shade a walkway, driveway or city street.

In cities where the Asian woolly hackberry aphid has been problematic, an application of imidacloprid has been found to be effective.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Tips for Watering Lawns and Gardens

Without adequate water, plants will suffer and eventually die. Supplies can run short as rapidly growing plants draw up moisture from the soil. It's important to know what to water and how.

How to Fertilize Your Lawn and Garden

Learn how adding fertilizer can be beneficial, especially for fruits, veggies and container plants. Fertilizers can also help kick-start growth after planting and reinvigorate plants that have been pruned hard.

Garden Plants and Flowers

Learn how to discover which plants underscore and help define a specific garden design style.

Garden Design: Connect Your Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

Let your indoor space inspire your landscape design plans.

Choosing Colors and Textures for Your Garden

Learn how to change the look and feel of your garden with this guide.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.