Balsam Woolly Adelgid

Photo by Robert L. Anderson, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Additional Images

Common Name: Balsam woolly adelgid
Scientific Name: Adelges piceae
Origin: Europe

Description

Adults are tiny, about 1 mm long, and appear dark purple to black in color. They produce a thick layer of a light colored, waxy, wool-like material that covers their body.

Habitat

This insect infests and kills fir trees. North American species are the most sensitive to attack.

Threat

As the adelgids feed on the bark of stems, they release toxins contained in their saliva. These toxins severely weaken the tree, affecting development and growth. Extensive tree mortality has occurred in the Southeast and Northwest U.S.

Management

Several species of predatory insects have been introduced into North America, but they are ineffective on a large scale. Applying insecticides by aerial spraying over large areas is not possible, but spraying individual trees has proven effective.

Symptoms

Gouting occurs with distinct swellings around the buds and branch nodes as terminal growth is stunted. The foliage in a dying tree generally turns yellow then deep red or brown before the needles fall off and the tree dies. White waxy wool may be detectable on the branches or trunk.

Distribution: View Map

This species is present in the Adirondack PRISM.