This species of aphid feeds on witch hazel and birch trees. Photo by: B. These aphids can also be found on birch, where they are known as the River birch aphid.Aphids from birch trees migrate to witch-hazel to create the next generation of aphids that will emerge the next spring. The witch-hazel cone gall aphid (Hormaphis hamamelidis) is a minuscule insect, a member of the aphid superfamily, whose presence on a witch-hazel plant is easily recognizable by a conical gall structure, green at first, it turns bright red. Every year without fail, some of the leaves on my River Birch change, becoming weirdly distorted and deformed. Witch Hazel Gall Aphids. Witch-hazel branches have been used as divining rods to find underground water sources, a practice sometimes referred to as ‘water witching’. This gall, rich in nutrients, provides both food and shelter for the female aphid. Hamamelistes spinosus host alternates from its primary host, witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), where it lives in a gall, to its secondary host, birch (Betula species), where it lives in a pseudogall.Unusually for aphids, this cycle take two years to complete. Leaf Gall Aphids: The galls witch hazel plants often develop when they grow near birch trees are actually insect nurseries for the witch hazel leaf gall aphid. Eastern tent caterpillar feeds on Witch-Hazel leaves. My river birch has an aphid and after doing some research, it is apparently Spiny Witch-hazel Gall Aphids. This paper is a very thorough study of the witch hazel gall aphids: Lewis, I.F. Both this aphid and the previous one migrate to birch for part of their life cycle. Secondary or lateral veins in the leaf often take on a yellow (chlorotic) appearance. In the spring, this aphid feeds on river birch leaves. Witch-hazel Cone Gall Aphids Laying Eggs. This is not a disease but is caused by an insect called spiny witch hazel gall aphid. River birch is a popular, fast-growing native tree for the home landscape. It has a complicated life cycle in that it alternates between two hosts: birch (Betula) and witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.). A. Kunkel, Ornamentals IPM Extension Specialist, University of Delaware Woolly beech aphids are active later in the spring. This aphid is a common pest on birch, particularly river birch. Identification & Distribution. Photo found at: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/ra/annualreport/fy06/images/pic07.jpg Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) leaf with Witch-hazel cone gall, caused by an aphid (Hormaphis hamamelidis) Both of these aphids spend part of their life cycle on birch trees. The spiny Witch-Hazel gall aphid causes galls 3/4-inch-long with long, coarse spines. Witch-hazel branches have been used as divining rods to find underground water sources, a practice sometimes referred to as ‘water witching’. This “potato chip effect” is what you are seeing. A. Kunkel, Ornamentals IPM Extension Specialist, University of Delaware Winged adult green peach aphid. Dear Gene: River birches can be attacked by an insect known as the spiny witch hazel gall aphid. The specific type of aphid that feeds on river birch foliage is known as the spiny witch-hazel gall aphid. The aphids become active in the spring when the leaf buds are opening. Found in buds, the Spiny witch-hazel leaf gall houses developing aphids inside of it. As River Birch is a native tree as well as being fairly common in landscaping, it is likely this alternate host is close enough to this aphid colony to be supporting them. In autumn a second winged generation develops and flies back to the witch-hazel where eggs are laid on the twigs to start the process again the following spring. It is "Systemic Insect Killer" by Ortho. Dark green foliage turns a beautiful buttery yellow in the fall. Spray with horticultural oil for some control. Birch trees are susceptible to a variety of aphids, "sucking bugs" that feed on plant tissue fluid. The small whitish aphids cluster in colonies on the undersides of leaves. At this time of year there is a species of aphid, Hormaphis hamamelidis, that is laying eggs on Witch-hazel branches. Infested leaves crinkle up and take on a corrugated appearance in response to the aphids' feeding. and L. Walton. The specific type of aphid that feeds on river birch foliage is known as the spiny witch-hazel gall aphid. Inside these structures in the witch hazel’s leaves, baby aphids grow to maturity and eventually create the next generation of aphids. Eastern tent caterpillar feeds on witch-hazel leaves. These structures are created by Cone Gall Aphids (Hormaphis hamamelidis) and have a fascinating life. The best cultivar of river birch for the landscape is ‘Heritage’ which has a similar growth habit to white birch, but has exfoliating bark in colors ranging from beige to salmon. Each year, this Aphid goes through seven generations between spring and fall and only a couple are actually found on Witch Hazel. Both this aphid and the previous one migrate to birch for part of their life cycle. Removing the nest by hand will control the infestation. Small yellowish insects on underside of leaf. witch-hazel leaf gall aphid, Hormaphis hamamelidis. Photo provided by: B. At low elevation in northern Virginia, the aphid had seven distinct generations alternating between the primary host, witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), and a secondary host, river birch (Betula nigra). Two divergent life cycles associated with different elevations and latitudes have been documented for the witch-hazel leaf gall aphid, Hormaphis hamamelidis. The galls are green tinged with red. At low elevation in northern Virginia, the aphid had seven distinct generations alternating between the primary host, witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana), and a secondary host, river birch (Betula nigra). Woolly birch aphid (also called witch hazel gall aphid) is easily recognized by a covering of wool-like strands. River Birch Leaves Turning Yellow : Dropping Off In Summer. Witch hazel gall aphid on river birch. These aphids cannot complete their life cycle on river birch alone, they have to migrate to witch-hazels (Hamamelis spp). The overwintering eggs on witch hazel hatch in the spring. It has a complicated life cycle in that it alternates between two hosts: birch (Betula) and witch hazel Hamamelis spp.) Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) leaf with Witch-hazel cone gall, caused by an aphid (Hormaphis hamamelidis) Both of these aphids spend part of their life cycle on birch trees. This leaf distortion is actually caused by aphids - Spiny Witch Hazel Gall Aphids , to be exact - which feed on birch leaves starting in the spring and then eventually move on to Witch Hazel trees for the second part of its life cycle. Witchhazel gall aphids cause conical protrusions on witchhazel leaves. 1958. There are a number of species of aphids that feed on most species of birch trees, including river birch. In early summer it moves on to witch hazel foliage, but will not infest any other type of plant. During ‘Episode 10 - Witch Hazel Rising: An Explosive Late Bloomer’ we found a bunch of conical galls growing on the Witch-hazel leaves. The spiny witch-hazel gall aphid causes galls 3/4 inch long with long, coarse spines. The aphid’s offspring then develop inside the gall where they are protected from predators as they develop, getting the nutrients they need from the sap of the plant. Spray with dormant oil before the plants begin to grow in the spring. Feeding by the small aphids gives leaves a corrugated appearance. Winged aphids develop inside the galls, then leave and fly to birch trees. While inside the gall, the female aphid will produce young that eventually emerge in two forms, with two destinies: A wingless form stays on the host plant; the winged form goes to live on Birch trees. Overwintering eggs are laid on witch-hazel in June and July. Although there is no accepted common name for Hamamelistes spinosus, it could be called the spiny witch-hazel gall aphid or woolly birch aphid for its appearance on the hosts that it attacks.. On birch, this insect overwinters on the bark as a hibernating female, sometimes called a “pupa.” This is caused by an aphid with a peculiar name, the spiny witch-hazel gall aphid; so named because it spends part of its life on witch-hazel and part on birch. Sold me an insecticide to spray on it thorough study of the on. 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