Pests can cause a lot of damage. Tree pests and diseases can devour entire tree canopies. This destruction has led to losses as cities use millions of dollars in removal and tree maintenance costs. These costs make it essential to identify tree pests as early as possible and prepare an action plan before trees are infected and destroyed. However, identifying pests is a hurdle. Most trees share the same symptoms if infested. The only sure way to confirm if the tree is infested is by hiring a certified arborist to examine the trees. Below is advice from experienced arborists on the best time to check for tree pests and the most common pests.
The best time to check your trees’ health is at the end of summer. It takes less than five minutes to check the trees for damage. Here are the most common pests.
Common Tree Pests
Emerald Ash Borer
This pest kills millions of ash trees every year. The adult borer is small and difficult to spot, but trees attacked by the pest show serpentine, S-shaped feeding galleries with sawdust and frass. Later on, D-shaped holes appear in the bark when the adults emerge, and the ash trees start dying from the top down.
There are two types of tent caterpillars – eastern and western tent caterpillar. The eastern tent caterpillars emerge during the early spring during the same time the trees start budding. Signs of infestation are stunted tree growth, the presence of large silk tents, and stripped leaves. The western tent caterpillar attacks a broad range of trees and mostly appears mid to late spring, and the presence of white silken tents is the unmistakable sign of infestation.
Aphids eat and suck at the sap in the tree leaves and stem. They leave a sticky syrup behind known as honeydew. Heavy infestation of aphids leads to stunting new leaf growth, ultimately leading to yellow leaves, misshapen, and curling. The telltale sign is sooty mold and the pests found on the underside of the leaves.
These budworms feed on the needles and buds of spruce trees, and they start from the top, working their way to the crown. Signs of infestation include destroyed buds, defoliation of recent shoots, and abnormal spreading of new twigs. If you disturb an infected branch, a large number of larvae suspend from the silk strands.
Mountain Pine Beetle
This beetle is a small insect living in the inner bark of the ponderosa and pine trees. The pest leaves blue stain fungus in the sapwood preventing the tree from repelling. Popcorn shaped masses of resin where the beetles have entered is another sign of infestation, and the needles turn red as well.
There is an endless number of pests that can hurt or kill your trees, but a few of them are more prevalent and dangerous than the others, and you’ll need to watch out for them. Contact a certified arborist to examine your trees in case of a massive infestation then report the findings to the state department of agriculture.