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NC State Extension

Scouting for Cinara Aphids

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Scientific name:  Cinara species

Where from: Native to North America

Type of pest: Issue with marketing/reduces customer satisfaction

Pest description:

Dozens of Cinara aphids on trunk

Cinara aphids on trunk

  • On Fraser fir: Cinara aphids are large, dark aphids. They may be brown or black. They live in colonies on the trunk or branches.
  • On white pine: the white pine aphids, Cinara strobe – is black with white markings and lighter colored legs. They can be found singly or in small clusters on shoots.

    Cinara aphids on white pines

    Cinara aphids on white pine

  • Some Cinara aphids have wings.
  • Cinara aphid eggs are rarely produced. They are oblong, black, and found on needles. There are typically several found in a loosely grouped together on several adjoining needles.

Damage to tree:  Cinara aphids seldom damage trees. In droughty springs, terminal growth may be reduced. When present during the winter, white, crusty sap flows can sometimes be observed dripping from where aphids are feeding.

Where found in the field:  Cinara aphids are found in scattered clusters of infested trees. When one infested tree is found, check surrounding trees.

Where found on the tree:  Cinara aphids are typically associated with the terminal and first whorl of branches in the spring. In the fall, they are more common on the trunk or underside of branches lower in the canopy.

Scouting method:

  • Cinara aphids can be found beating foliage over a plate while scouting for twig aphids.
  • In the fall, do a general scout of the field. Look for hornet or yellow jacket activity in trees. Wasps are attracted to the sweet honeydew. Ants are as well. The flight pattern of hornets foraging for aphids is different than those returning to a hornet’s nest in the tree, which is more direct.
  • During harvest, make sure all workers can recognize Cinara aphids and report their presence.

How weather affects:  Cinara aphids are more of a problem in warm falls.

What pest can be confused with pest:  Cinara aphids are often mistaken for ticks by the public. Ticks have eight legs at maturity and aphids have six.

How often should trees be scouted: Whenever working in trees, be on the lookout for Cinara aphids. Make a trip prior to harvest to look for Cinara aphids specifically.

Treatment threshold:  If any Cinara aphids are found and the trees are to be harvested, they should be treated to prevent post-harvest pest problems.

Important natural enemies:

  • Lady beetles and their larvae appear to be the most important natural control, though other general predators should also feed on Cinara

For more information on Cinara aphids including photographs and control recommendations, see Cinara Aphids and Other Post Harvest Pests.

For the complete Fraser fir scouting manual for western North Carolina, see Scouting Manual.