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Wooly Aphids swarm the city as they migrate and mate

SPOKANE, Wash. - Curious about what those little bugs flying around? They're Wooly Aphids. The reason they've been so active is because it's migrating and mating season. They normally hide in conifer trees as they feed off of its roots. But when they need a mate, and to move - they'll come out and that's why we see them.

"Must be the time of the year," said Bill Ames, Spokane Valley resident.

The time of year when these little bugs take over the city. And you see swarms of them as you're walking through the park or down the street.

"They're kind of a nuisance really," Ames said.

In the summer, aphids feed on parts of conifer trees, which is why you don't see them.

"This is the time of year when they're producing winged forms, and basically migrating from the summer tree to an over wintry tree," said Gary Chang, entomologist at Gonzaga University.

The bugs are also trying to find mates by swarming around trees. Which is why the closer you are to a tree, the more likely you'll find a group of woolly aphids.

"They look for trees where they can sort of hide in the crevices in the bark and find their mates there," Chang said.

Bug experts said they're not harmful to plants or people and if you're worried you'll accidentally eat one, consuming them in small doses won't kill you.

"You probably want to cover your mouth if you're biking through a cloud of them," Chang said.

The bugs are basically a nuisance. Experts said we can expect them to head out of the area as winter weather approaches.


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