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Tree & Shrub Pests: Common Tree Insects To Look Out For

Flowers are blooming and trees are developing their beautiful ranging colors, but with healthy trees come insects and can quickly turn into an infestation. Tree insects cause damage to trees by eating the leaves or sucking the juices from them causing loss of color or defoliation in some cases. Be on the lookout for these common tree insects to avoid damage!

Common Tree Insects

aphids tree insects

Aphids are a pest that come in many different varieties. They damage trees by sucking the juices out of the plant tissue. Aphids can generally be found on the underside of the leaf and their damage produce a gradual change in the color of the foliage. An infestation of aphids will show symptoms of Chlorosis: insufficient chlorophyll that is responsible for the color of leaves. Sticky residue near the infestation is most likely the excrement from the insect, also known as honeydew. 

Bagworms are generally found on evergreen trees such as arborvitae, junipers, pines and spruces as well as several deciduous trees like honey locust, black locust and sycamore. Bagworms are leaf-eating caterpillars that hatch from eggs over-wintering in spindle shaped bags. Young, newly hatched larvae begin feeding on the plant material and construct bags from it which can be 2-3 inches long. To get rid of bagworms you can pull them off the tree and throw them in the garbage or for large infestations its best to spray them with an insect control material.

cankerworms tree insects

Cankerworms damage trees by eating leaves and only leaving the veins of the leaf. This is known as skeletonizing. They often use a silken thread to move from branch to branch or from branch to ground. There are two types of Cankerworms: the spring cankerworm and the fall cankerworm. The spring cankerworm is a dark green, black, red, or yellow worm, with one or more stripes along its body. 

Eastern Tent Caterpillars are a common defoliator. They build silken tents in the crotches of trees, especially crabapples and purple plums. The worms live within the tent, but move out on the open foliage to feed. Full- grown caterpillars are black, with a single white stripe along their backs. This insect pest usually appears early in the growing season. If you notice insects frequently on your trees and shrubs, contact your local neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green Lawn Care. They will be able to determine if the insects will cause damage and can help prevent from turning it to an infestation! Our 2-Step Tree Program can help nourish and protect your trees from these pesky insects and disease.