Douglas Fir: Cooley spruce gall adelgid

categories: Conifers Douglas Fir Douglas Fir Insects Ornamentals

revision date: 2024-06-05 10:40

woolly or cottony tufts on Douglas fir needles.
Douglas-fir Cooley spruce gall adelgids
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli


This aphid-like insect feeds on newly growing needles. Adelgids appear as woolly or cottony tufts on the needles, with heavily infested trees appearing “frosted” or flocked. Small purplish insects are found underneath the cottony tufts. Adelgid feeding can cause needles to become distorted or bent and yellowed. Infested needles sometimes drop prematurely. This pest is a serious concern in Christmas tree plantations, but is less important in the landscape. Cooley spruce gall adelgids also infest spruces, but cause distinctive galls on spruce that are not seen on Douglas fir. Chemical control must be aimed at crawlers during or shortly after bud-break.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Planting spruce and Douglas fir trees as far apart as possible may help reduce adelgid infestations.
  • Hand-wipe to control minor infestations (where possible).

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • Apply to control crawlers when new tips are expanding.
  • Esfenvalerate is toxic to bees. Do not apply products containing esfenvalerate on or near blooming plants.
  • To minimize risk to bees, apply in the evening after bees have stopped foraging for the day.
  • Homeowners should not make foliar applications to trees over 10 ft tall. Consult a commercial pesticide applicator for treatment of trees and shrubs over 10 ft. tall.

Approved Pesticides

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.

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