The Q&A Archives: Pussy Willow Pests

Question: Hi,In spring the leaves of pussy willow Shrubs(20 ft. tall)get eaten by these tiny black bugs(1/4 of an inch big).Shrubs are next to a small pond with goldfish .Help D. in Mass.

Answer: Because pussy willows are among the first plants to flower in the early spring, they are targets for hungry insects. In fact, willows rely on insects for pollination and to attract them, produce large amounts of strongly scented nectar. Bees and flies are readily drawn to pussy willows in full bloom. One of the advantages of flowering early in spring is that there is very little competition for pollinators. The willows gain the full attention of the many bees and flies that also awaken early in the spring and are desperate for food. The water in your pond is also a natural attraction to insects so you're dealing with both hungry and thirsty insects. There's not much to recommend as far as eliminating the insects - anything you use can drift into the goldfish pond. So, if you can, just accept the fact that you are providing food and water to help keep the natural balance of wildlife in your garden.

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