Blue, Winged Aphids

2015 June 17

These were out in some numbers on October 14, 2014, like they are every year. While I was bicycling home, I kept catching them in my eyes and teeth, so I figured it was time to catch a few of them for photos. Their bodies were only about 3 mm long, so the photos aren’t as sharp as I might like[1].

(these weren’t the ones I picked out of my teeth, those aphids were in no shape to photograph. These I caught by waving a jar through the air).

Some of the flying blue aphids have extensive “wool”, waxy filaments that they extrude from their bodies, but these didn’t have so much. Mostly they have a kind of a waxy “bloom” on their skins. This could be because the wax filaments got knocked off while I was catching them, though – I did see a lot of them that looked much woollier.

There are a lot of possible candidate species for these, in the subfamily Eriosomatinae, the Woolly and Gall-Forming Aphids. But unfortunately, it is hard to figure out which one it is without knowing which host plant they are associated with. I do know that they are Not Woolly Alder Aphids or Poplar Petiole Gall Aphids, both of which I have found in the past, and photographed their winged forms clearly enough to see that they aren’t the same thing.

As for what they are, I’m beginning to think that I won’t know until I stumble on them on their host plant. Which could be tricky, since a lot of them live in trees (and are likely to be so high up that I won’t see them). For that matter, a lot of root-feeding aphid species are in this subfamily, and they live underground most of the time, so I would be unlikely to see them, as well.

[1] I suppose I could go to and rent this monster for a couple of weeks, and then just take a vacation where I photograph thousands of little tiny insects that are all over the place if one looks. It’s worth thinking about, although the question would be what time of year would be most productive for doing that.

8 Responses
  1. June 20, 2015

    Wow, I don’t think I have ever seen members of that subfamily. Very cool find, I wasn’t aware of aphids in that color.

  2. Danielle A permalink
    September 15, 2016

    Hello, i was wondering if you have found out what they are as for the last 2years around summer/autum time they infest my house and have no clue what they are or to stop them, hope you can help me.


  3. September 15, 2016

    Nope, I still don’t know what their host plant is or where they come from.

  4. Danielle A permalink
    September 15, 2016

    Ok thank you anyways, if you happen to find out any information please can you post on here as im stumped, all i know is that they do not lay eggs but infact they give birth. I seem to be getting loads around this time of year and all congrigating around my windows and back door but die very quickly.

  5. September 16, 2016

    One thing I have found out about the aphids in this family is that they overwinter on different host plants than the ones they live on during the summer. Do you have trees growing near your house? If so, what kind are they? They may be attracting the aphids.

  6. Danielle A permalink
    September 16, 2016

    Hello again, im not very clued up on my trees, i know outside my house there are conker trees and silver birch trees, i live in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, UK.
    There are a alot of different trees in the area. We also have a canal and the Blue Lagoon not far from my home as well. Would that have any effect on these little invaders?

  7. September 16, 2016

    OK, given what types of trees you have nearby, I think I have a likely candidate for you: Silver Birch Aphids. They live in the UK, and their winged sexual form flies this time of year, and they look pretty similar to my pictures above. They are most likely coming to your birch trees for the winter, and just ending up at your door and windows by accident.

  8. Deb Anderson permalink
    November 3, 2019

    Found these guys starting a home in a wound in a crotch of my Raywood Ash today. I killed them by hanging around and when they landed squished them by hand. There were a dozen or so that were in the wound itself and I sprayed them with a weak bleach solution and when they were dead I washed it clean with plain water. I’m just going to keep an eye on this and try to keep them from becoming an infestation. November 3, 2019

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