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Plants attacked: Balsam fir, Fraser fir, Siberian fir, Subalpine fir.
Description of damage: Twisted and curled needles are the most apparent damage from feeding by the balsam twig aphid. Feeding can also cause roughened bark on the twigs. Extensive feeding can cause a general decline and reduced vigor of the tree, yet in many cases is cosmetic and not particularly damaging. The major problem is that curled needles reduce the marketability and value of Christmas trees. Balsam twig aphids also produce honeydew, a sticky material that drops to needles and twigs below. At times the honeydew can become a growth medium for sooty mold, which turns the needles and twigs black.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
March 3, 2015