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Green Spruce Aphid

Elatobium abietinum

Green Spruce Aphid, Spruce Aphid, Spruce Needle Aphid


by Matt Bowser. CC BY 4.0

A close up of Elatobium abietinum green spruce aphids on spruce
Deal with aphids organically: Method 4
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Deal with aphids organically: Method 4
Deal with aphids organically: Method 3
Deal with aphids organically: Method 3
Deal with aphids organically: Method 2
Deal with aphids organically: Method 2
Green Spruce Aphid is a green sap-sucking insect that uses Spruce as its host plant. Aphids have complex life cycles and will alternate between methods of reproduction to suit the current conditions. They're able to have several overlapping generations each year so they can multiply very quickly too.
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These aphids can cause discolouration and defoliation in spruce.
An abundant food resource for predatory insects like ladybirds and their larvae.


Adults are green and 0.2cm big. They are active from autumn to spring, as opposed to spring and summer. Nymphs tend to look like adults but are smaller in size, a slightly paler green, and lacking wings.


Spruce needles will gradually become mottled and discoloured. Brown patches on foliage may be evident, with a notable needle drop during winter months. There may be a dusting of black sooty mould that covers foliage and stems. Spruce can recover, but it takes a bit of patience as regrowth is likely to be slow. You can help damaged trees by caring for them carefully by keeping them watered and feeding with fertiliser. A black, sooty mould may be evident near the infested site. A sticky, clear liquid may be evident near and around the area of infection.











Europe and America

Biological treatment

These aphids provide an abundance of food for wildlife active during winter, such as birds. Infestations should be tolerated wherever necessary. It's advised to regularly water trees so that they are healthy and robust. If your plant is large, there's not much you can do as a gardener. Trees of large size are well-established and readily able to withstand aphid damage.

Chemical treatment

There are some chemicals available in UK markets that can be used. However, it can be impractical, as well as ineffective to apply pesticides to trees. Assess whether the infected area will be easily treatable before spraying any persistent chemicals. If you can't cover every nook and crevice, it's likely some insects will survive and re-infest your tree. If a chemical option is sought, check with your local garden centre and please take care to follow the manufacturers' instructions. Check with your local regulating body for guidance on active ingredients and their authorisation for use.



Picea spp.

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