MCLEAN’S PARK—An Expositor reader recently reached out to this newspaper looking for help in identifying a swarm of fuzzy looking bugs while on a walk at McLean’s Park along New England Sideroad.
The Expositor contacted its entomologist, Dr. Joe Shorthouse, who identified them as woolly aphids.
“The fuzzy bumps on this tree are called woolly aphids,” Dr. Shorthouse wrote. “Each little cluster of fuzz marks the location of a feeding aphid. This type of aphid produces strands of waxy material from its body. The mass serves a variety of purposes including protecting them from predators (insect predators such as ladybugs would get their mouths entangled in the wax) as would birds; protects them from drying out (small insects are susceptible to drying out when wind blows over their bodies); and the wax may form a boundary layer over a mass of aphids that would prevent them from freezing when the temperature drops near 0°C.