This week, we’re going to talk about three insects you should be on the lookout for this season and what you should do about them. Let’s jump right in!
You’ll notice the presence of the Japanese beetle by the chunks of leaves that you’ll see chewed right down to the veins – or even the browning leaves towards the top of the canopy of the tree. These feisty creatures like to feed on trees when it’s warm out and they often chew right through the entirety of the body of the leaf, leaving only it’s skeleton behind. When they’re done, the leaf almost looks like a fishing net.
They’re most prevalent in crabapple, maple and birch trees and love to show up just in time for peak growing season – or whenever the most possible food is available. Japanese Beetles are only treatable by pesticides – and those treatments need to be carefully staggered a few weeks apart for maximum impact.
As you can imagine – Japanese Beetles are best left to the pros to handle.
Ever notice those silky spider-web looking things on trees? Where the web is a little wet and yet there’s lots of chewed detritus, some leaf loss and unexplained branch death? If you’ve seen any of these symptoms, the chances are you’re dealing with bagworms.
Bagworms are a particular pain to deal with because they camouflage themselves quite well – not just in their appearance, but in how they attack your tree. One day, your tree is fine and a week or two later, it quickly and suddenly looks like it’s falling apart. Worst of all, they tend to pop up in a wide range of trees, including Junipers, arborvitae cedars, spruces, willows, maples, oaks, birches elms and even poplars.
Believe it or not, there IS a treatment you can apply yourself and that treatment (seriously) – is your fingers. Yes, if you can take it – you can pick all the little moldy bags off the tree one by one – either by picking and flicking, or crushing all the little bags that pop up. Now if that’s totally too gross for you or something that seems a little too time consuming, then sure – call us. We’ll get them for you. But yes you CAN remove them yourself.
When leaves curl, twig dieback is prevalent and you’re noticing a lot of honeydew on your leaves, then you’ve got Aphids – or ‘plant lice’ for the layman.
Aphids come in a variety of species – and we’ve covered many of them in the past. They’re particularly awful not only with regards to the magnitude of the damage they can inflict – but how they inflict their damage. They eat leaves, stems, prevent nutrient intake, mitigate the effects of sunlight and cause significant dieback and a whole mess of other tree-destroying things.
The good news is – that if you catch these baddies early enough, you can kill them and arborists everywhere have a deep quiver of tools at their disposal to tackle them – as they’re as common an enemy as we face. Horticultural soap treatments, insecticides, pruning – there’s a whole swath of ways the pros (and you, to a lesser degree) can clear your trees of these pests.
The important thing to remember though – is that as soon as you see the symptoms – especially you spot the honeydew – you NEED to get pros in as quickly as possible. Aphids can absolutely decimate a tree if unchecked, so make sure if you see the symptoms, that you’re on the phone quickly.
In closing, there are a few other instances of some of these bad guys, so if you’re concerned about potential infestations, simply call an arborist. Another thing to do – just to be safe, would be to call an arborist and have them do a free walk through. They know what they’re looking at and can spot the early signs – if there are any – and tackle the problem while it’s minor- as opposed to letting it fester and get worse.