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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Another Report on White Fuzzies on Stems of Plants


Q. I check all my plants weekly for possible problems. I noticed what appears to be some kind of white fuzzy things on my pear tree leaves and sent you some pictures. I didn’t want to mess with them in case they were from beneficial insects. I’ve searched on line but can’t seem to find anything. Have you ever seen them before?

A. Yes, I have seen these white fuzzy, cottony things on all sorts of plants including herbs, citrus and vegetables. These are not good guys but they are also not terribly bad either. You can wipe them off or spray with soap and water.

            I have posted pictures of this before on my blog but I will repost it again. These are probably the egg masses of the sharpshooter insect or a close relative. Be sure they are not mealybugs. If you don't know what mealybugs are, ask and I will post some pictures. Truly one of the worst pests worldwide, particularly inside or in greenhouses but outside as well in wet climates.

12 comments:

  1. We get those here in Phoenix as well. I assumed they were wooly aphids, but when I see them again (soon I'm sure) I will break out the magnifying glass and examine them closer. Especially since I have never seen them associated with ants. They seem to like the main stem of the underside of leaves too and aren't too picky in which fruit trees they inhabit. Like you said a squirt with a hose does the job.

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  2. I'm in West Phoenix, and I have these all over my plants in the garden.

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  3. Yes my flowers plant's problem this only white fuzzy.But daily water pressure. I'm cleaning all plant's that's white fuzzy daily coming .My work daily cleaning.😥😰😓😇😂😂😂

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  4. Daily cleaning this white fuzzy.
    With water pressure .
    I try with surf water mixed .
    But not result came

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  5. So what exactly is this? And why is it bad?

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  6. I have them too they just started after a very humid summer in Peoria AZ they're on my basil, tomatoes, bell pepper and chili pepper stems/stocks. We've inspected the leaves but haven't found any signs of pest. The white stuff is like powder when you rub the stems.

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  7. This is exactly what I have on pretty much all of my outdoor plants. What kind of soap would I use, and what ratio? How often? Thank you!

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  8. This is exactly what I have on almost all of my plants. From my roses, to my Photinia. What kind of soap would I use, and what ratio, how often? Thank you so much!

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    1. Sharon. I still don't have a definitive answer about what it might be. I have checked with several "experts" and I get different answers. At this point I am not sure if it's causing any damage or not. If it's not causing any damage and the plants look and grow healthy then I would ignore it. From what I could see it doesn't look like there is anything remaining on the plant and this is just a residue from an insect I suspect a horticultural oil sprayed on the plants when the weather is cool would be enough to take care of the problem. Consider doing that sometime in November, December, January or February. Pick a warm day with no wind and spray the plants with the horticultural oil mixed with water. Do it twice this fall, winter or early spring but not when plants are in bloom.

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  9. According to this guy, they are cixiid eggs. http://blog.growingwithscience.com/2009/09/bug-of-the-week-cixiids/

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    1. I think you got it! Great detective work. Thank you! Coming from a guy in Arizona (similar climate and geographic region) it is very believable.

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