Blue ash aphids, curious for their 'fuzzy butts,' common throughout the Okanagan

Blue bug with a fuzzy butt

Today's bug of the week isn't scary at all – but it is colourful.

Michelle Puls was curious when she spotted a little blue bug with a fuzzy posterior region.

“Calling all bug experts. I have a ton of these little flies with white fuzzy butts and blue bodies outside. They're really cute! Would love to know what they are,” Puls said in a post on the Vernon & Area Community Facebook Page.

Her query received numerous responses, and a Google search of 'small blue bugs with fuzzy butts' turns up the top hit blue ash aphids. They are also referred to as wooly aphids.

While they can be a bit of nuisance, they are completely harmless.

They are also a curious little critter.

“While they're around all year long, they're only really noticeable for a few days in autumn. For most of the year, these insects don't have wings. For that matter, most don't have male genitalia,” an article titled Attack of the Little Blue Bugs states.

A fresh generation of the critters hatches in spring to begin feeding on the roots of fir trees, but it is only in the fall they’re triggered to produce both winged aphids and males.

That's when the party really starts.

Once the males show up, it’s time to swarm as the insects take to the air for a mating frenzy.

The new generation won’t hatch until spring, and once the swarm ends, most residents won’t even notice the aphids' existence.

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