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Tree Leaf Eaters: Watch Out For These Leaf Eating Insects

As trees are well into the growing season, there are a few leaf eating insects you should look out for.  You may spot early signs of tree leaves being eaten, damaged or starting to curl. This could be an early indication of future and likely tree insect infestation. Leaf eating insects are highly destructive and can defoliate majority of the tree plant in a matter of time. Butterflies, Caterpillars, and moths are main leaf eating insects, but there are a few more such as a variety of tree beetles. Wondering what insects are damaging your tree and eating leaves? Here a leaf eating insects to watch out for.

Damaging Leaf Eating Insects

Elm Bark Beetle and Elm Leaf Beetle

Elm Bark Beetle Leaf Eating  

The Elm Bark Beetle transmits the Dutch elm disease fungus from sick or dead trees to healthy elm trees. The Elm Leaf Beetle and beetle larvae that skeletonize foliage on all elms. The beetle is ¼ inch long with yellow legs and yellow-green body. The larvae are dirty yellow-to-black with spiny bodies. The beetles eat small round holes in the leaves, while the larvae skeletonize the leaf from the underside of the leaf. If an infestation of Elm Leaf Beetles exists, they can defoliate the entire tree. Pesticides do exist to control these leaf eating insects, and it’s important to irrigate the tree during summer drought. 

Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder Bugs are black and red insects that feed on the seedpods and foliage of boxelder trees. Their feeding does only minor damage. Controlling Boxelder bugs is not common, but is possible if they’re a nuisance on your landscape trees. 

Willow Leaf Beetles 

These tree leaf eating insects are a chewing insect that skeletonizes a willow leaf in both the beetle and larvae state. The beetles are small and very dark blue. The Willow Leaf Beetle can cause damage to your tree, but they will not be fatal. Spraying insecticide in May or early June is best. 

Black Vine Weevil

Black Vine Weevil Leaf Eating Insects

 Black Vine Weevil is a common tree pest of the yew or taxus coniferous trees or shrubs, and is also known as the taxus weevil. The adult Black Vine Weevil tree insect is black in color and feeds at night. These leaf eating insects damages the needles of evergreens by eating their edges, leaving small notches on the needles. The larvae feed below the surface of the soil, on the feeder roots. The larvae can cause extensive damage to taxus trees, and can be difficult to diagnose. It’s important to check your trees for early signs of leaf eating insects to stop these insects in their tracks. Your local Spring Green professional will be able to provide the best recommendation or implement a two step tree program to protect your tree from diseases and insects!