Insects That Kill Trees

April 21, 2022

Insects feed on trees like a parasite and are one of the main causes of deforestation.  They can weaken your tree’s health and make it easier for tree diseases to attack.  Learning to identify harmful insects is vital to ensuring the long-term health of your trees.  Here are some common insects to look for to keep your trees healthy.

Emerald ash borers are identified by their slender metallic green bodies and wiry black legs. They are relative to a group of wood-boring beetles that infests and kills ash trees.  Thinning or dying branches, S-shaped tunnels just beneath the bark, and flecking of bark by woodpeckers are signs of the presence of emerald ash borers.  Infected trees usually die within one to three years.

Gypsy moth is among the top defoliator pests.  They prey on hardwood trees such as oak, birch, elm, and maple.  The Gypsy Moth lays its yellow, teardrop shaped eggs in the spring as new leaves grow. After the eggs hatch, a gypsy moth caterpillar emerges which has a beige head, a hairy body, and multiple blue and red spots along its back.  It is around 2 inches long.  Leaf damage and bare branches with no leaves are signs of infestation.  

Tent caterpillars make silken tents to protect their eggs and the surrounding branches and cause your tree to defoliate.  Their continual feeding weakens trees, making them more vulnerable to diseases.  Eastern tent caterpillars have a black body with blue spots and white and yellow stripes along their back.  Their legs appear fluffy with downy white tufts.  They are found on a wide variety of shade trees and fruit trees such as crabapple, apple, and cherry.  The Forest tent caterpillars have a blue head with a black body that is covered with thin white hairs.  They are found on oak, elm, maple, birch, and ash trees.

It is important to take immediate action when seeing one of these insects to prevent the tree from dying.  Call Integrity Tree Care today to help remove damaged or infected trees before an infestation spread.