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White Stuff on Hops!?!?!

I have second year Cascade and Fuggles hops growing in Georgia. The Cascades are exploding with cones and the Fuggles have a few nice size cones. We have had a lot of rain this year and it has been hot and muggy. I went out to check on them this morning and found what looks like a white cotton candy like substance on some of the leaves and bines. Does anybody know what this might be and if I need/can treat it?

Either mealy bugs or spider mites. Either way I’d spray them with Safer Soap if you think they are taking a lot of energy out of the bines. if it isn’t a bad infection I might let it go.

definitely an insect of some sort

I’d add that spider mites are tiny, whereas mealy bugs are about 1/8" across.

The good folks at my local nursery identified the infestation as SCALE. The bug is very tiny, or at least, my eyes haven’t found them yet. I don’t know if they are doing any real damage but, I bought an organic treatment that suffocates the bugs by coating the plant (and bugs) with an oil. The product says that it is safe on fruit and vegetables up to the day before harvest, so the hops should be okay by the time I pick them in a few weeks. Once I see that the bugs are gone, I’ll start hosing the plants down just to be on the safe side.

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