Bug eating my tree!

Asked June 3, 2018, 11:48 PM EDT

I can't identify this bug. Can you help? Seems to be that the entire life cycle is on my plum tree. Not the Dogwood, apple, pine or oak. Just the plum. Some sort of egg hatched (never saw it, just a white, flakey left over) and has been growing for the last 2 weeks or so. Starts out ball, fat like. It mainly sucks at that stage. Can't move much. As it grows, it lengthens out amd becomes a little more mobile. The mouth and head is a sucker of sorts. Seems to be sucking the juice of the leaves. Please call with more questions. I can bring samples into an office as well. Thank you!

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

Congratulations. You have biological control in action!

The white, flakey things (20180603_200424_original.jpg) are cast skins of aphids. Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects which suck on the leaves and excrete sticky fluid called honeydew.

The other critters are several different life stages of lady beetles which are helping to get rid of aphids. Your image 20180603_200424_original.jpg is a non-feeding stage of a lady beetle. The adult lady beetle will be the next stage.

Many different species of lady beetles exist. Yours don’t appear to be the “Convergent lady beetle” but this page has images and text to describe the life cycle of lady beetles of all kinds- http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/NE/convergent_lady_beetle.html.

You can wash off much of the sticky honeydew and many of the aphids with a harsh water spray from a hose. Repeat as needed.