4 Invasive Insects That Can Harm Your Trees

4 Invasive Insects That Can Harm Your Trees

Trees have many benefits for both the environment and human health. They provide life-giving oxygen, limit the effects of flooding, and provide shelter from the elements. Unfortunately, with the ever-present threat of invasive species, trees are at constant risk.

Invasive species are dangerous because they can quickly spread throughout an ecosystem unchecked, making it harder for other species to compete. This chain of events can negatively impact biodiversity, leaving the local environment out of balance. By knowing the invasive insects that can harm your trees, you can work to reduce their impact and give native populations a chance to come back.

Emerald Ash Borer

Introduced into North America from Asia, the emerald ash borer had no natural predators in the area, allowing it to thrive. Because they’ve been able to reproduce unchecked, they’ve become a real problem for the native ash trees on which they feed and lay their eggs.

You can recognize the presence of an emerald ash borer when branches near the top of the tree start to die off and larvae-shaped tunnels appear beneath the bark. If your tree displays some signs of sickness, you can use an insecticide on the base to get rid of these invasive pests.

European Gypsy Moth

Although not as picky as emerald ash borers, gypsy moths have become a threat to various North American hardwood species, such as oak and maple. Gypsy moth caterpillars eat the leaves of the trees they’re born in, causing damage to the foliage and weakening them over time.

You can often find gypsy moths in the spaces between tree bark. To deal with a gypsy moth infestation, you have to kill the caterpillars before they can cause more harm. You can quickly eliminate them with soapy water or a biological pesticide.

Spotted Lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly is another insect native to Asia that was accidentally introduced to North America through human activity. These insects feed on the sap found in trees and plants, making it harder for them to perform photosynthesis.

You can search common areas, such as trees, walkways, and outdoor furniture, for clusters of eggs to see if you have an infestation. Spotted lanternflies are easy to deal with. Simply spray the plants with vinegar to get rid of both adults and nymphs.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

A tiny aphid-like insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid is often hard to spot until it’s too late. When hemlock trees become infested, they’ll quickly lose their needles since the adelgids feed on their sap, reducing nutrient flow and causing the tree to starve.

These pests can be identified by the small puffs of wooly-looking material they leave behind after feeding. If you notice an infestation before it’s too late, you can spray the tree with an oil or soap treatment depending on its size.

Protect Your Local Tree Population by Watching for Invasive Insect Species

Human activity has had a profound impact on local plants and wildlife across the planet. As more foreign species enter native populations, the effects are only likely to increase.

Taking the time to learn about the invasive insects that can harm your trees will go a long way in ensuring they stay healthy and thrive.

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