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.

Next Up

Controlling Aphids, Slugs and Snails

Sustainable ways to keep damaging pests away.

Aphids 411: How to Beat Them in the Garden

Aphids are literally born pregnant and a few dozen aphids will breed into thousands in a matter of weeks.

Controlling Whiteflies and Aphids

Find tips here for keeping these common pests at bay.

Io Moth Caterpillar

Don't let this caterpillar get under your skin. The larval stage of the io moth is capable of inflicting very painful stings.

Leaf-Footed Bug

The leaf-footed bug is an unwelcome visitor in vegetable and fruit gardens.

Thwarting Raccoons in the Garden

Get tips for limiting the damage these marauders can do in your garden.

Slug Control

Slimy garden pests can be devastating; here are tips for reducing their numbers.

How to Control Grubs

Get ahead of leafy chewers by attacking them at the larval stage.

Landscape Pest: Bagworm

This common pest of conifers lives most of its life in a cone-like bag.

1,000+ Photos

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

Follow Us Everywhere

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