Subject: apple tree infestation
Location: Guildford Surrey
June 28, 2015 10:38 am
Hi, I found lots of these climbing on my apple tree. There was also a type of white fungus around which some of them congregated – this possibly contains eggs?
I don’t know if they are bad for the tree or not. They measure approx. 1cm, but some are slightly smaller. They have 6 legs but the back part of their body looks like a caterpillar.
I hope you can help.
While there is a pest problem on your apple tree, nature seems to be controlling the situation. What you have mistaken for fungus or eggs is actually a type of Hemipteran, possibly a Woolly Aphid which you can read about on the Royal Horticultural Society site. The crawling insects are the larvae of Lady Beetles, and they are feeding on the Hemipterans. The bad news here is that the Lady Beetle Larva is an Asian Lady Beetle Larva, a nonnative species, and it is believed that the proliferation of nonnative Asian Lady Beetles in North America is contributing to the decline in numbers of native species.
Thank you so much for the information – so it is good news and bad news!
Since posting, many of the larva have now attached their back ends to the tree bark and are hanging upside down, obviously in preparation for their next stage of development. Also, there is now very little evidence of the ‘white fluff’ so they have probably done their job. Unfortunately, many of the leaves on the tree are not looking very healthy but I am loathe to spray anything and just let nature take its course so I can review the tree in the autumn (it is past its prime anyway).
Thank you again for your help.