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Cinara aphids on pine shoot

Cinara Conifer Aphids

Cinara eggs on pine needle

Species:

Many species in the genus Cinara each have specific conifer hosts. Some of the common species are: white pine aphid (C. strobi), green spruce aphid (C. fornacula), and the large fir aphid (C. abietis).


Distribution: Wherever conifers are grown.


Hosts: All pines, spruces, Douglas-fir and true firs.


Damage:

Heavy populations may stunt shoot elongation or cause some needle drop. These aphids produce considerable amounts of honeydew which is soon covered with black sooty mold. Cinara attacks to seedlings have been known to kill some plants.


Description and Life Cycle:

Cinara aphids are the larger, 1/8 to 1/4-inch long, aphids which form colonies on branches, stems and candles of conifers. Most species are spider-like with long legs and oval bodies. Most are green or brown to black with lighter colored spots and the cornicles are usually short. The Cinara aphids are often tended by ants which collect the honeydew. In fact, there is good evidence that many Cinara species cannot survive without attending ants.

Cinara aphids usually overwinter as jellybean-shaped, black, shiny eggs attached to stems and needles. These eggs hatch in the spring into asexual, wingless females, the fundatrices. The fundatrices give live birth to more females. As the spring progresses, winged asexual females are born which can fly to new trees. In the fall, special winged reproductives are produced. These reproductives mate and lay overwintering eggs.

Cinara aphids seem to build up populations in the spring and fall, during cool temperatures.


Control Hints:

Cinara aphids usually do not get out of control, especially where ants are not present. The aphids are often detected by looking for ants or bees searching the tree foliage for the honeydew. The aphids can also be detected by holding a white tray or paper under a branch and striking the branch sharply with a stick. The aphids will fall onto the tray and can be easily counted.