What the hell!
Location: Spokane Valley – Eastern Washington
October 23, 2011 6:56 pm
These are some sort of gnat I think, they’re all over our tree out front. So just what are they and may I assume it’s a mating sort of thing…. huge swarm for sure! Curious about what they are and are they going to harm the tree?
We wish your photo showed an individual insect more clearly as it is difficult to make out details. Our initial guess is that these might be some type of benign Barklice, though we wouldn’t rule out some species of Ant. How long has the swarm been present? Did it quickly disperse?
We will try to get a second opinion for you.
Not ants … here are some individual shots. We’ve seen them flying around out in front of the house for about a week now, maybe more. They’re gnat-like and seem to have powdery white’ish butt… Good shots in this batch, should help quite a lot!
Hi Again Paul,
Your new photos are a tremendous help. These are Woolly Aphids in the subfamily Eriosomatinae. Woolly Aphids have complex life cycles, often feeding on different plants at different stages. Earlier in the year, most individuals are females that reproduce parthenogenically. We believe the winged individuals are males. You can compare your photo to this image on BugGuide. Here is another photo from BugGuide. Knowing the host tree might help to identify the species.