Honeysuckle Witches/Broom Aphid
May 14th, 2019
Ends of branches “crook over” and excessive numbers of leaves are produced in the “crooked” area. These leaves are smaller and fold in on themselves along the center vein giving them a light green appearance.
There are many generations of this aphid per season. This insect overwinters in the egg stage in the crooked area of the branches. The eggs hatch and the aphids fly to feed on other honeysuckles, causing the leaves to fold over the insect.
This insect does not do great harm to the plant but the damage is visually displeasing. Most sprays are not very effective because the folded leaf hides the insect, preventing exposure to the chemical. Yearly preventive systemic spray treatments with Orthene or soil injections with MSR have proven to be effective however the chemical may brown the edges of the leaves if soil moisture is low or if other stresses to the plant are present. Pruning out the crooked areas in the winter where eggs are laid will help reduce the following year’s population.