Subject: mass of bugs on downed sycamore
Location: Baltimore, MD
August 20, 2012 11:08 pm
I noticed masses of this bug on a sycamore that had been downed by a recent storm. This part of the tree was leaning, not on the ground. The tree is located in a park in woods near freshwater wetland.
I’ve included one photo with a bee to provide size comparison.
You have submitted photos of Giant Bark Aphids, Longistigma caryae, and here is what we learned about them on BugGuide: “This is the largest aphid in North America with adults averaging about 1/4 inch long. They also have long legs which makes them appear even larger. Males and some females are winged but egg laying females are wingless. They are brown with black markings (giving them somewhat of a mottled appearance) and have short, black cornicles. When alive they are often partially covered with a bluish white, waxy secretion. BugGuide continues: “Activity usually begins in late April in Oklahoma. An adult female gives birth to live young and a colony is formed on the underside of the branches of the host tree. Several generations occur during the summer and fall. Activity continues into mid-November in some years. Late in the fall females lay eggs in bark crevices or on the smooth bark of smaller limbs. The eggs are yellow when laid but later turn black. They are the overwintering stage.” Sycamore is listed on BugGuideas a host plant and the complete list of host plants is: “American elm, pin oak, live oak, post oak, blackjack oak, pecan, hickory, sycamore, and golden rain tree. Other trees which might be infested include maple, basswood, birch, beech, walnut, chestnut, and willow.” We suspect the felled tree was oozing sap which attracted the Yellow Jacket.