Have You Ever Seen These Fuzzy White “Boogie Woogie” Dancing Bugs in Kentucky or Indiana?
OK, so they aren't actually called "Boogie Woogie" bugs, but I thought that was such a cute name for them. Especially considering they look like they are shaking their little bug booties at a garden rave. Have you ever seen these tiny, fuzzy guys on your plants?
When Can You Find Woolly Aphids?
According to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, "Many species can reproduce rapidly by parthenogenesis, where females give live birth to daughters without mating. They can build up great numbers quickly, which is why aphids are often pests of crop plants. In late summer or early autumn, populations are about as large as they are going to get, and soon a generation of both male and females that has wings is produced."
Why Are Woolly Aphids Fuzzy?
Found on the underside of leaves and stems, Woolly Aphids are usually small, brown, and have no wings before developing a white stringy substance that makes them look really fluffy. The white fibers are part of their defense mechanism. If an animal were to try to eat them, it wouldn't be very pleasant. That's not the only one in their bag of tricks, but it does happen to be an excellent outfit for a dance party.
What is the "Dancing Bug?"
Another part of their defense mechanism is actually pretty adorable. Whenever a predator comes near, these fuzzy little bugs start to "dance." Sensing carbon dioxide from the breath of animals who may be looking for a snack, they start to pop their behinds in a synchronized rhythm to try to scare them away. I wonder what song plays in their heads. Boot Scootin' Boogie? Look at these sweet dance moves: