Help! Bug invasion of my favorite tree! 😭

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I don't know what I'm up against and I'm pretty panicked because my favorite tree is at risk. I repotted my river birch at the end of March so it was already pretty weak when it was targeted by some unknown adversary. As soon as the leaves started emerging I noticed that they were coated with some whitish powdery substance that I thought was powdery mildewy. After that all the leaves started drooping and I noticed that the powdery white substance had bugs crawling through it. To me they don't look like scale and they don't look like mites and they don't look like aphids. Before I used a magnifying loop, I thought that they might be mealybugs, so I treated the tree with imidacloprid on Saturday. I don't know what the uptake time is but it doesn't appear to have done it's work because I swear more of the leaves are coated in bugs. I broke out the magnification and took some pictures, and I would truly appreciate some help identifying my adversary, and if you could spare some advice on a strategy moving forward, I would be deeply grateful. The pictures are kind of gory, as a warning.
 

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Thats awful, looks like mealybugs but Im not 100% sure. Might be worth a shot to blast the buggers off with a strong blast of water from a hose, the risk is taking the leaves off but at this point the foliage doesn't look salvageable.
 
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Thats awful, looks like mealybugs but Im not 100% sure. Might be worth a shot to blast the buggers off with a strong blast of water from a hose, the risk is taking the leaves off but at this point the foliage doesn't look salvageable.
Thank you. I've been considering it but I really do think it will take off the leaves, and I'm concerned about whether the tree even has enough strength for a second flush. I did some aggressive root work which probably is the reason the tree was weak enough to be so susceptible in the first place. So many regrets.
 
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In fact, I think there are several species on the leaves. There's at least those scale looking things with legs and that caterpillar grub looking thing. And then all the white stuff could be mealybugs but I really don't know. Are they that small? Maybe I should apply another imidacloprid application. I'm using the granules from Bonide.
 
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I've had some indoor tropicals get hit by mealybugs, lil white powdery balls, Ive trimmed off infected pieces, sprayed with alcohol, dish soap. Resilient they are, and I dont like using harsh chemicals indoors, Im at a point where I will be severely thinning what comes back indoors for the winter.
 

penumbra

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Wow, that is a mess. Looks like you are going to lose all those leaves no matter what you do. I honestly don't think I have ever had a plant that infected, ever. If I have a bad infection I mix up a soap solution in a large bucket and holding the tree upside down I dunk the entire plant right up to the top of the soil. I use Bonner's soaps. I have used Peppermint most often but I have also used the tea tree and the lavender as well. A decent dish soap would work.
I'll be back in the morning to check on this post.
 

sorce

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Ain't that a Birch!

I don't think those are different stages of one insect. Looks like 3 or 4 different things. Maybe some eating others even.

I wouldn't even wait for treatment to delay you removing that BS so it can get on with it.

Good news is it seems you've picked up one of every leaf pest but not much else, so defoil, burn them shits, and don't use chemicals!

Sorce
 

Firstflush

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I see white fly and red spider mites at least...any maybe some aphids. Neem oil and a horticultural soap will work. Systemics that you water in may not work fast enough for you. Maybe mix some pyrethrum in to. I hear spider mites can be tough.
 

Bnana

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The green thing in the middle of your last photo is a syrphid, a hover fly (can't identify species for the US). It will eat lots of these pest.
It's quite likely that if you place it somewhere where ants can't get to it the pests will be wiped out quickly. This is not abnormal for a tree coming into leaf and they can easily recover.
After repotting it is a bit harder for them, So you might help with a soap treatment. But I wouldn't be too worried.
 

LunaticTree

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Thse are mealy bugs, very annoying to deal with, but not the end of the World, I am a landscape gardener so we have to deal with tose pests regulary.
There is multiple things you can do to get rid of the Pests without using Pestizides.

1, Spray it with high pressure Water, dont be afraid that you might blast the leafes off, most of them are going to die soon after you got rid of the bugs.

2, Make a mixture out of dishsoap and water and spray the Tree with it, the Soap destroys the wax coat that those bugs have to protect themselve against predators.

3, there are littl sticks you can out in the Soil to distribute "pestizides" directly to the sucking Insects to get rid of them right away.

4, To minimize Damage you can also reudce them greatly by pikcing them off the Tree by hand till you found a Method.

As for me? I would use the pestizide "sticks" you put in the soil of the plant, the Plant will then suck it up and the insects die right away.
Trees are tough so I wouldnt worry about not geting a 2 Flusch
 

BobbyLane

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Thse are mealy bugs, very annoying to deal with, but not the end of the World, I am a landscape gardener so we have to deal with tose pests regulary.
There is multiple things you can do to get rid of the Pests without using Pestizides.

1, Spray it with high pressure Water, dont be afraid that you might blast the leafes off, most of them are going to die soon after you got rid of the bugs.

2, Make a mixture out of dishsoap and water and spray the Tree with it, the Soap destroys the wax coat that those bugs have to protect themselve against predators.

3, there are littl sticks you can out in the Soil to distribute "pestizides" directly to the sucking Insects to get rid of them right away.

4, To minimize Damage you can also reudce them greatly by pikcing them off the Tree by hand till you found a Method.

As for me? I would use the pestizide "sticks" you put in the soil of the plant, the Plant will then suck it up and the insects die right away.
Trees are tough so I wouldnt worry about not geting a 2 Flusch
in the past when ive had mites or aphids ive also found that a few jets of water works perfectly fine, along with the washing liquid water solution. simple but effective.
just blast em off.
 

LunaticTree

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in the past when ive had mites or aphids ive also found that a few jets of water works perfectly fine, along with the washing liquid water solution. simple but effective.
just blast em off.
Yup it does, I had to deal witht hem on Orchids before, tho the water and Soap did not help there as the Orchids simply had to many holes and crevice to hide.
It usualy works just fine for most pets sto blast them off with water.
I breed Lemon trees and they actualy are very fun to observe when there are critters around.
They have little nubs on the bark right underneath each leafe,t hat seems to trick ants into thiking that its aphids. They never had Pests on them besides the Scouting ants.
 
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Didn't do anything yet but the leaves all perked up overnight. Maybe the imidacloprid is finally doing some work.
 

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Bnana

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Imidacloprid for something like this is shooting a mosquito with a cannon. That stuff is bad news.
Soapy water would have been enough, and without the environmental issues of neonics.
 
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Imidacloprid for something like this is shooting a mosquito with a cannon. That stuff is bad news.
Soapy water would have been enough, and without the environmental issues of neonics.
I agree with you. My reaction was knee-jerk due to my sentimentality regarding this tree. I'm using a different Bayer landscape formulation of it to treat my full-sized eastern hemlock in the yard for a really severe case of hemlock wooly adelgid, which is why I think I resorted to the Bonide granules for my birch.
 
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Bnana

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You're also using this in your yard? You know that this makes everything near your tree toxic as well and anything that flowers will kill the pollinators that visit it?
I wouldn't be amazed if the usage of this poison caused the outbreak as it hits natural enemies hard, increasing the likelihood of outbreaks.

I know this stuff is used a lot on this forum but I'm glad it is banned in the EU. There are lots of good alternatives.
 
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You're also using this in your yard? You know that this makes everything near your tree toxic as well and anything that flowers will kill the pollinators that visit it?
I wouldn't be amazed if the usage of this poison caused the outbreak as it hits natural enemies hard, increasing the likelihood of outbreaks.

I know this stuff is used a lot on this forum but I'm glad it is banned in the EU. There are lots of good alternatives.
It's definitely no good. Luckily, nothing tends to grow underneath hemlocks and I'm not near a stream or anything. Adelgid is on track to totally wipe out this species if unchecked. Here is a hemlock forest a few hundred miles south of me. No survivors. I'm actually using the method prescribed by the state's department of conservation and natural resources, and the method they use in the old growth forests to combat the invasive adelgid.
 

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LunaticTree

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I am glad that most strong herbizides/pestizides are banned here, the amoun tof glyphosat that was smashed into the ground is beyond worrying. The only thing I would recomend using AFTER there is really no other way and you tried all the other methods, is the Careo spray/sticks, the sticks work their magic through the rootsystem and only affect the sucking critters, while the one you spray on top works through leafes and gives imediete results
 

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