What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: These guys fell out of my hair
Location: Caledon, Ontario, Canada
December 21, 2014 9:54 am
Hello there, I have spent all morning scouring the internet to no avail.
What do you think these guys are, they fell out of my hair easily this morning. I have been renovating the basement, and sticking my head up into the cobwebs in the ceiling, but we also have a six-month old boy, a dog, cat and two horses. The closest I cam was a spider beetle, but those posterior black stubs are throwing me off. Just want to make sure that they are not ticks or bed bugs.
The body/thorax is around 2 mm long, and both images are the same scale.
Signature: CP



Dear CP,
This is an Aphid, a common pest on many cultivated and wild plants.  Do you have a live Christmas tree in the house?  Living trees brought indoors often carry unwelcome insect visitors, and Aphids coming indoors on Christmas trees are seasonal holiday sightings for our site.

Hi Daniel, thank you so much for the quick response! About 30 mins after I sent you the message, I realized that I had moved a house plant into another room…an OLEANDER…so guess what I looked up next! Big sigh of relief! The plant was covered in them!
Great site, you are one of a kind and thank you so much for the help!

Thanks for that update CP.  We did not think this looked like a Giant Conifer Aphid.  Oleander Aphids are generally yellow in color.

It wasn’t until I looked up the milkweed/oleander aphid that I realized it was a juvenile. Amazing little creatures; what would be your theory on how they ended up in my house, in the middle of winter, a thousand kilometers north of the natural range of oleander plants?
I suppose that phenomenon is similar to when the red Asiatic lily beetles appear in mid-summer to munch on – you guessed it – my Asiatic lilies.
The life of a human is so busy and hectic these days, those little natural details just get swept away in the madness…almost impossible to spot with the untrained eye.
Good to know there are still people out there who care about the heaviest portion of the world’s total biomass.

Hello again Colin,
The Oleander Aphid or Milkweed Aphid,
Aphis nerii, feeds on plants other than oleander and milkweed that contain milky sap.  Our own potted Hoya plants are prone to infestations, especially on the new growth.  People who live in areas with freezing winter climates often grow semitropical plants like your own oleander, and they are frequently taken outdoors during the warm summer months when they might become host to a single female Aphid that will reproduce indoors under favorable conditions.  According to BugGuide, the range of the Oleander Aphid included Maine, and though there are no Canadian reports, we can assure you that insects do not respect international borders.  It is also possible that a recently acquired plant was purchased with a preexisting population of Aphids that initially escaped notice, but eventually multiplied.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Caladon, Ontario, Canada

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