Asian Woolly Hackberry Aphid – Shivaphis celti

Asian Woolly Hackberry Aphid: Appearance, Territory, Damage, and Life Cycle

Latin Name: Shivaphis Celti

Appearance: On 13 August 1997, an Asian woolly hackberry aphid, Shivaphis Celti Das, was discovered for the first time in Florida in Jacksonville on sugarberry (Celtis laevigata Willd.). These Asian woolly hackberry aphids have since been collected in counties spanning the majority of Florida. About a year before its discovery in Florida, Shivaphis Celti was discovered in Georgia.

The sticky honeydew produced by hackberry woolly aphids is sometimes the first visible evidence of an infection. Aphids exude a whitish wax that covers their body. These woolly aphids appear as fuzzy, bluish, or white masses on shoot terminals and leaves, each approximately 1/10 inch or less in diameter. The forewing veins of winged forms show conspicuous black borders, and their antennae have alternating dark and light bands.

Hosts Plants: The widely planted Chinese hackberry (Celtis sinensis) and other Celtis species are infested by an invasive woolly aphid (Shivaphis Celti), also known as the Asian woolly hackberry aphid.

Territory: This hackberry woolly aphid is also found from Florida through Texas, and maybe as far north as Illinois. It is also found in most of Asia.

Damage Insect Cause: The aphid tends to prefer hackberry trees. This aphid is a pest because it generates a lot of honeydew, which makes a sticky mess and encourages the formation of blackish sooty mold on surfaces beneath afflicted trees. This honeydew makes it an unwelcome nuisance in residential and commercial areas where the tree is commonly utilized to shade parking lots and sidewalks.

Honeydew output has been shown to exceed previously established tolerance levels. In the San Joaquin Valley, populations are typically highest in the spring and fall, with reduced numbers throughout the summer. After numerous years of infestations by this aphid, no long-term or substantial harm to hackberry trees has been discovered.

Life History and Habits: Summer adults are all parthenogenetic females. Summer adults can have wings or not. Winged males and wingless ovipara can be found in autumn. These aphids’ mate to produce an overwintering egg, which helps them to survive the winter when the trees have no leaves. As the hackberry produces leaves in the spring, the eggs hatch.

Controlling insects on huge shade trees in urban areas is often difficult because of safety concerns, application challenges, and cost considerations. As a result, the most popular strategy for dealing with this aphid is the do-nothing approach of simply living with the situation. Heavy infestations can render trees ugly for a period of time, but they cause little long-term damage to the tree. Another treatment option is to remove the tree from the landscape. This severe control method is designed for instances in which the ensuing honeydew and sooty mold pose too many issues to bear and the owner does not want to commit to regular insecticide sprays.