Pine aphids

This young pine tree has a light infestation of pine aphids (Cinara spp – possibly Cinara confinis). The aphids are being “milked” by ants: basically, the ants are looking after the aphids and eating their excrement or “honeydew” to put it more politely!

Pine aphids (Cinara spp) clustering round the pine needle bases
Pine aphids (Cinara spp) clustering round the pine needle bases
Pine aphids with ants
Pine aphids with ants
It's hard to pull one of the aphids off without squishing it, but here's one so you can better see what it looks like.
It’s hard to pull one of the aphids off without squishing it, but here’s one so you can better see what it looks like. The aphids on the shoot are at various stages in their growth cycles, this is one of the larger ones.

At this low level of infestation (the aphids were only present on a couple of shoots throughout the whole tree), there isn’t a particular problem. The aphids haven’t been shown to spread any viruses, unlike many other aphids, and they provide a food source for many beneficial insects, like ladybird and hover fly larvae.

 

 

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