January 8, 2010
We noticed several of these spider-like bugs crawling around inside our house this December. They seemed to coincide with the set-up of our freshly cut Christmas tree. Once the tree was removed in January we did not notice them anymore. This just may be a coincidence, but we don’t know for sure. We thought they were spiders, but noticed they have only 6 legs. Thanks in advance for your time and we look forward to your response, whether or not you can identify them.
Long Island, NY
We did a web search of “Aphid and Pine” and found a North Carolina State University page on Cinara Aphids on Christmas Trees with text, but no images. The site states: “Cinara Aphid Appearance. Cinara aphids are some of the largest aphids found in the world, Cinara aphids are usually dark in color appearing brown to black. The young are smaller versions of the adult. Cinarastrobi, the Cinara aphid found on eastern white pine, has white spots on the rear of the abdomen. Cinara aphids eggs are black and oblong and are found singly on the base of the needles.” We then verified the appearance on BugGuide, and we are satisfied with the identification that you had Giant Conifer Aphids in the genus Cinara. We often get reports of unusual insects crawling off of Christmas trees.
Thanks for your quick reply and apparently accurate identification. The photos on BugGuide look very similar to the actual bugs and to my photo, and after reading the NCSU page I’m convinced that’s what they were. I had checked BugGuide but would have never guessed they are aphids, so skipped that section.