There a wide range of species of bugs that make their homes in, around and on trees. Many of them are completely harmless – some of them actually help the tree itself. But there are some who are unfortunately up to no good at all!
Whether they see your tree as a meal or a new home to use and abuse, your trees need protecting from some of the more aggressive invaders in your yard. Whilst swift action can often stop a problem early enough before it becomes serious, you need to know what you are fighting.
Here is a quick rundown of the three types of bug to keep away from your trees at all costs!
Chewing Insects These critters are looking to chew their way through the leaves and fruit of your tree – that is why they are also referred to as Defoliating Insects. You will be able to spot an infestation pretty easily by regularly inspecting the leaves and any fruit that your tree produces. Lots of holes equals lots of hungry little mouths!
Chewing insects mostly comprise beetles and caterpillars, so keep an eye out for these types of insects whilst inspecting your tree. As this attack is against the leaves and fruit, it is the least serious kind of insect attack a tree can suffer. After all, both leaves and fruit are designed by nature to be disposable.
That being said, a long term, heavy or repeated attack can damage or even kill your tree if the insects are attacking the leaves. Your tree after all uses leaves to generate food from sunlight. Without this, it will gradually lose energy and die.
Simple insecticides can be used to kill the infestation, though be careful spraying fruit if you intend to consume any of it. A friend of mine, Frank the owner of Little Rock Tree Care, has even come up with his own proprietary method for getting rid of Chewing Insects, which are a huge issue in personal gardens. Read more about the method on Little Rock Tree Care website.
Tunneling Insects Also referred to as boring insects. They will tunnel (or bore) straight into your tree. Many people assume they only attack the trunk but that is sadly not true at all – they can also bore into roots and branches.
Most tunneling insects will typically tunnel into your tree to lay eggs. If these are allowed to hatch, the newborn larvae will tunnel deeper, cutting off the flow of water and causing often-irreparable damage.
This is in fact often the most serious type of insect infestation. As curing it can prove difficult, prevention here is better than cure. The best tip to avoid a tunneling insect infestation is to only prune your tree in late fall or during winter, when these bugs are dormant.
Sucking Insects These nasty little bugs are going to attach themselves to your tree, usually via the stems and leafs themselves, and suck out the nutrients. Something of a halfway between the two types of bug attack we’ve mentioned already, they are not going to do the same long term damage as tunneling insects, but will cause more short term problems than the simple chewing insects.
Again, prevention is better than cure which means maintaining a strong and healthy tree that can withstand such attacks. Just the same as the chewing insects, keep an eye on the overall health of your tree and signs of infestations of sucking insects – such as lots of leaves suddenly dying. Simply treat with insecticide spray if you find an infestation.