Those fuzzy little white things flying around are actually sap-sucking insects

Woolly aphids are common in Texas

Woolly aphids infest a tree branch - photo from Tom Woodward on Flickr. Woolly aphid close up - photo from Ian Boyd on Flickr. (Flickr)

Those little white fuzzy things you might have seen flying around and sticking to things (like cars and trees) over the last few weeks aren’t random cotton pieces floating in the air - they’re bugs.

The fluffy white things are known as woolly aphids and they’re commonly found throughout Texas.

KSAT reached out to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist Molly Keck who said the woolly aphids “aren’t harmful to humans or animals because they are plant feeders.”

They can cause stress to weak and damaged plants said Keck but there’s nothing to worry about.

According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, woolly aphids are sap-sucking insects and they produce a sticky substance known as honeydew.

Despite the sticky substance being a bit of a nuisance - there’s been no known damage to plants from woolly aphids in the long term, UCANR reported.

“Rain showers and natural enemy populations will take care of them,” said Keck. If you want them out of your garden or yard, a nice spray with the hose will help.

Woolly aphids also love hackberry trees which are common in Texas. So if you’ve encountered a sticky substance or a white fluff ball after parking underneath one - it’s likely just your friendly neighborhood woolly aphid.

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About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.