Flight of the Woolly Aphids

Woolly Aphid, possibly the Hackberry Woolly Aphid | Shivaphis celti
Woolly Aphid, possibly the Woolly Apple Aphid | Eriosoma lanigerum

Over the last couple of evenings I’ve noticed a massive flight of woolly aphids both in Courtenay and today up at my mother-in-law’s house in Black Creek. I’ve managed to get a few decent images of these white furred aphids (though they are quite small). I initially thought that they were possibly the Hackberry Woolly Aphid (Shivaphis celti) but now think that they are more likely Woolly Apple Aphids (Eriosoma lanigerum) which would fit better with the available food plants in town since apple and other fruit trees are common. However, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands the woolly apple aphid does not have a winged form in BC. If there are any aphid experts out there that can confirm or refute this identification I’d be happy to hear from you!

It’s been fascinating watching these aphids taking their early evening flights during these last few warm fall days. The spiders seem to be enjoying them as well.

Woolly Aphid Dinner
Woolly Aphid Dinner
Not so Lucky Woolly Aphids
Not so Lucky Woolly Aphids


  1. Hi there. I have these exact little bugs all over the tree on my front yard. I am wondering if they are aphids, can they harm the tree? They seem to have taken up residence on one side of the trunk…many of them are dead. It seems odd. I’ve lived in BC my whole life and never seen these. ( I’m in Campbell River).

  2. Hi Joanna – I’ve been seeing quite a few of these aphids (or a similar species) flying, though not concentrated in any kind of numbers. At this time of year, I doubt that they’d be harming the tree but you could use a soap and water solution to get kill them if you’re concerned. That’s what we use on infested plants in our garden and it works quite well. No need to spray a pesticide. If we get a cold snap they’ll die off pretty quickly as well.

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