Ask a Question forum: Tiny flying insects in pine tree

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Dec 16, 2016 6:52 PM CST
A few weeks ago I found that the front walls of my house and under the eaves were covered with thousands of tiny, flying insects. I assumed that they were attracted by the jacaranda flowers which had fallen on the roof. Sure enough, clouds of them were disturbed when I cleared the roof and guttering. I sprayed everything with surface spray and the problem seemed to be solved. During last week's heavy rains, however, a large branch from our pine tree (under the jacaranda) broke, disturbing thousand more of these tiny insects which once again covered the walls and windows. I have just finished hosing them off but I know there are hordes of them living in the rest of the pine tree.

My questions are what attracts them and, more importantly, how can I get rid of them?
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Dec 16, 2016 7:08 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @kafka ! That sounds like quite a mess of bugs; I think it would be extremely helpful if you could give us an idea of where you live, and perhaps post a photo of the insects. Smiling
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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Dec 16, 2016 7:44 PM CST
It sounds like you are living somewhere with warm weather right now - please tell us where you are?

It would always be best to ID the bugs before you take on the task of "discouraging" them. It doesn't sound like it, but they actually may be something beneficial in which case you would want to just wait for them to disperse.

Sounds like they have been breeding or have just hatched - usually a huge population of bugs in one area is there only for a very short time. Or they may be attracted to either the dead jacaranda flowers as you thought, or pollen or sap from the pine tree, if you are in the southern hemisphere. Guess if your jacaranda just bloomed, you probably are?

But once you are sure you want them gone permanently, spraying with a mild soapy water solution would be my first try. Maybe an ounce or two of dish soap diluted with water, and used in a hose-end sprayer would do the trick. Stronger is not better. I'd spray all the trees and plantings around your house with this. Leave it on for just a few minutes then rinse off with plain water. It will kill most living insects, but not unhatched eggs, so you may have to repeat the treatment to get the next generation.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

Dec 17, 2016 4:19 PM CST
I live in Sydney, Australia. It is summer here and the temperature has been particularly hot (often in the high thirties). I will attempt to take a photo of the insects but they are extremely tiny so images might not be terribly helpful. I will also try spraying them with soapy water as suggested. What I have done so far is first to spray surface spray on them, which killed a few thousand, then to hose them at high pressure. To be continued.....

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