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Insect and Spider Identification: Jumping fluff...?!

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Forum: Insect and Spider IdentificationReplies: 5, Views: 48
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VaMtnDude
Basye, VA
(Zone 6a)

July 8, 2012
4:16 PM

Post #9198132

What is this weird bug? I keep seeing it on my night-blooming cactus, and every time I think I've killed it, it reappears again. It's literally just a piece of tiny white fluff with legs! Whenever I try to squish it or spray it, it jumps and/or flies away. Whenever it reappears, there's usually an oval of similar white fluffy stuff on one of the newer leaves, and the bug is sitting in an empty spot at the exact center of that oval. I keep wiping that fluffy stuff off the leaves because I'm afraid it's laying eggs and there will be thousands more next time. So when did dryer lint learn to fly and start attacking plants?!?

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themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

July 8, 2012
4:25 PM

Post #9198140

Possibly one of the Mealy bug species...I do know that the males fly.

http://www.learn2grow.com/problemsolvers/insectsanimals/insectdamagecontrol/mealybugs.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mealybug
VaMtnDude
Basye, VA
(Zone 6a)

July 8, 2012
5:02 PM

Post #9198156

I've had mealybugs before but they never looked this fluffy and I've never seen any jump or fly like this thing does. I sure hope it's not some kind of mealybug because every plant I've ever had that's gotten infested with them had to be thrown out because I could never get all of them killed. They're just relentless! That's why I'm so glad I'm only seeing just one of these things at a time so far.

greenthumb99

greenthumb99
Lucketts, VA
(Zone 7a)

July 8, 2012
5:48 PM

Post #9198185

Try insecticidal soap, castile soap and water. It has to be sprayed directly on the insect as it has no effect when dried. With a trigger sprayer you can get a shot on it before it jumps/flies. Non-toxic to humans and other mammals except perhaps dirty little boys.
Flapdoodle
Minot, ND

July 8, 2012
6:30 PM

Post #9198262

Maybe a woolly aphid - http://www.flickr.com/photos/askop/5956614066/
Insecticidal soap still should work.
VaMtnDude
Basye, VA
(Zone 6a)

July 9, 2012
6:47 AM

Post #9198769

Thanks. I just googled woolly aphid and on the Wikipedia page it sure sounds like the same thing. They even said one of the common names was "fluff bug" which is what I've been calling it. Most of the pictures I found online though show clear wings sticking up from the body. I can't see any wings on mine, but maybe it's just an immature that hasn't grown them yet. I did try to spray some soap on it last night but it jumped really fast and disappeared somewhere beneath the leaves so I'm not sure if I actually hit it or not.

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