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Integrated Pest Management · Agriculture and Natural Resources

University of California

Aphids, scales, thrips

These are all small, soft-bodied insects that feed by sucking plant sap. Damage may include leaf stippling, leaf bleaching, leaf curling and distortion, whitish waxy growth, or sticky honeydew (condensed sap) which may support the growth of sooty mold. Although most of these insects are related, thrips are classified in a different group.

Link to aphids

Aphids, adelgids, and phylloxera

Adults of these tiny pests often lack wings. Aphids can produce copious amounts of sticky honeydew, which can lead to the growth of black sooty mold.

Link to leafhoppers, treehoppers, sharpshooters, spittlebugs

Hoppers, sharpshooters, and spittlebugs

These insects feed by sucking plant juices and may leave drops of sticky excrement. Damage includes stippled, bleached or brownish leaves.

Link to spiders


Mealybugs often have waxy filaments radiating from their bodies. They are wingless, move slowly, and congregate in groups covered with whitish mealy or cottony wax.

link to ticks

Psyllids and whiteflies

Psyllids and whiteflies suck plant sap and excrete sticky honeydew. As adults, psyllids resemble miniature cicadas; whiteflies look like tiny flies with whitish wings.

Link to windscorpions


Scales are immobile, wingless, and lack a separate head or other recognizable body parts, so many people don’t recognize them as insects.

Link to windscorpions


Thrips are tiny, slender insects, with fringed wings and piercing mouth parts. They often leave tiny black dots of waste on leaves.