Spiny Witch-hazel Gall Aphid – Hamamelistes spinosus

Spiny Witch-hazel Gall Aphid (Hamamelistes spinosus)

Latin Name: Hamamelistes spinosus

Common Name: Spiny Witch-hazel Gall Aphid


  • Hamamelistes spinosus is a common aphid pest on birch, especially river birch. This aphid causes anything from premature leaf drop to dead twigs and branches.
  • Hamamelistes spinosus has a body length of almost 2 mm. Because it is most commonly seen on river birch, where it forms bumpy ridges on the leaves, it is also known as the river birch aphid.
  • It creates spiny galls on witch hazel, the spiny witch-hazel gall aphid, Hamamelistes spinosus; that’s why it is known as the spiny witch-hazel gall aphid.

Hosts plants:

Witch-hazel (Hamamelis spp.) and birch (Betula spp.) are two host plants.

Territory: Hamamelistes spinosus is commonly found in the northern hemisphere

Damage insect caused by Hamamelistes spinosus

Leaf corrugations on birch trees are caused by aphid aphids, which cause the leaves to pucker and protrude lengthwise. The afflicted leaves will likely turn yellow and fall off the tree prematurely. Aphids dwell on the underside of the leaves, covered in a waxy, white, flocculent substance.

Description of Sap Suckers:

Sapsuckers are a North American bird species that belong to the woodpecker family. Sapsucker wells are easily identifiable. The bird uses its chisel-like beak to drill a dozen or more small holes in a horizontal line, each less than half an inch apart. Then it returns, again and again, to suck up the sap that has leaked out. The bird produces a second row of holes slightly above the first when the flow starts to slow, generally after a few days. A sapsucker at work is identified by a rectangular pattern of nicely spaced holes in tree bark. The yellow-bellied sapsucker is the most common sapsucker of all. It makes its home in the chilly evergreen woods of Canada and Alaska. It migrates across all eastern states east of the Rockies and spends the winter in the Southeastern states.

Life History and Habits: 

Heterospermia, the most prevalent form of aphid, feeds on the leaves of birch (Betula) and witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.). The aphids’ development and reproduction are fast, and the leaves quickly develop distinctive “corrugations” or pleats. The Aphid’s life cycle begins when the grooves on the undersides of the leaves fill with aphids and granular debris.