Trees are among few living organisms that can live for hundreds, if not thousands of years for some species. Trees are helpful to humans and play an essential role in balancing nature. In addition to providing shade, trees can help with erosion control and improve water quality. They provide habitat for wildlife and serve as a vital element in the ecosystem.
The benefits of having trees on our property are numerous, but the much-dreaded pests could ruin enjoying full benefits. Some pests may be more harmful than others, depending on what type of pest attacks your trees.
For example, some insects will cause damage to the tree while other insects feed off the tree. Other pests such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses do not directly harm the tree, but their presence affects trees.
Here is a list of the 6 most common pests that can damage your tree:
First on our list is termites. They eat wood. They like to stay near your house. Termites damage roots and weaken the structure of the tree. They can cause holes in the trunk and branches. When this happens, there could be sap oozing out of the hole created by termites. If termite damage occurs in the crown of a tree, the leaves turn yellow and die off.
If you find tiny tunnels in your tree’s stem, then known borers have been there recently. Borers create tunnels inside of a tree and then feed by sucking the soft tissue of the plant and can destroy entire trunks in a short amount of time. A borer may look like a small round hole in the bark. This pest usually attacks conifers such as pines, firs, and spruces.
Aphids are tiny green bugs that suck the juices from the stems of plants. They are most common in the spring and summer months. Aphids tend to congregate at the base of a tree and spread their eggs throughout the tree. Once the larvae hatch, they begin feeding on the tree’s new growth. Aphids are very hard to get rid of once they eat away at the tree.
Number 4 on our list is the mealybugs. They are tiny white or brown oval-shaped bugs. They attach themselves to the tree’s bark using suction cups. Mealybugs love to feast on the sap of the tree.
- Scale Insects
With a twist of a leaf whose backside is looking up, you will likely find an insect covered in a thick waxy layer. Scale insects are sometimes also seen hanging down from the branch tips. These insects are difficult to see because they blend into the background.
Moth caterpillars are among the worst pests that you can find infesting your trees. Caterpillar moths lay their eggs on the surface of the tree. After hatching, the larvae spin webs and tunnel through the tree. Larvae of moth caterpillars can easily kill young trees.
The best defense against pests is prevention. So, make sure you put in place pest control measures. A few pest control methods include:
- Dipping your tree in insecticide solutions
- Spraying the pesticide directly onto the pest
- Using traps such as baits
- Pheromone traps
- Glue boards