Chilling winters force everyone to hide under cozy blankets and seek comfortable shelter. Have you ever thought about how the tiny insects/pests and bugs spend their winters? These mini creatures cannot survive the cold weather and hence tend to seek shelter in your homes, gardens, barns, or wardrobes. Pests can burrow into plants for protection against the cold, much to the detriment of the plant. The tree care article below elaborates about such pests and the ways to get rid of them.

Overwintering Bugs – Unwanted Tennenats

Treescape tree careOverwintering pests are the bugs that hide and seek shelter to escape the chilling weather outside. These pests hide in shrubs and trees and often result in wilting and damage to the plants. These pests tend to stay through the winter and emerge from their plant shelters on the arrival of spring. Scale insects and aphids are the most common overwintering pests.

Scale Insects: These are flat insects that have a hard and waxy shell, making it hard to spot these. They appear as tiny bumps on the branches of trees and shrubs. They feed on the sap and may result in wilting of leaves, branches, and even tree death. Armored scale and soft scale are the two types of scale insects.

Soft Scale Insects: These insects produce a wet sticky byproduct of ingesting sap known as honeydew. The honeydew deposited on the leaves and branches results in the formation of black mold-looking fungus. This fungus destroys the aesthetics of the plant.

Armored Scale Insects: The armored scale insects do not produce any honeydew. Since the insects suck sap from the plant, the plant leaves will yellow, the growth will be stunted, and eventually, the plant will die. Plants that are stressed (due to lack of water or fertilizer) are more susceptible to infestation.

Aphids: Aphids are another category of common garden pests. These appear as small drops on the leaves and branches of the plant. They multiply at a fast rate and can spread to the entire plant in a short time.

How To Control Overwintering Pests

Aphids and scale insects are the most common pests infesting outdoor and indoor plants during the winter season. Below are some techniques to combat these bugs.

Dormant Oil: A thorough application of the dormant oil to plants during early spring (i.e., before leaves sprout) can prevent the scale insects from attacking the plant. The entire above-ground plant needs to be treated.For aphids as well, applying dormant oil in winter can put a halt to their lifecycle. It kills the overwintering aphid eggs, and hence no new pests will emerge.

Pest Control: Going for pest control is another option available to bid goodbye to the infecting overwintering pests. Natural predators and proper watering can help control these pests. However, these efforts may prove to be futile if the population of parasites infecting the garden is massive. In such cases getting professional help is always advisable.

For more information on tree care and controlling pests, contact Treescape. Call 704-598-6641 (Charlotte) or 704-867-4100 (Gastonia) to set up a consultation about your tree problems and how we can solve them.