4 Destructive North American Tree Pests

Trees are a beautiful addition to any yard, but they can become diseased or infested with pests. If you have trees on your property, it is important to know the signs of insect infestation so you can have your trees treated as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage. Some of the most common tree pests in North America are:

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald ash borers are beetles native to Asia, but made their way to North America in cargo containers containing wood packing materials. Adult emerald ash borers eat the leaves of ash trees, but the real destruction comes from their larvae, which feed on the inner bark, and prevent the tree from properly transporting nutrients and water. Signs of an emerald ash borer infestation include sprouting from the trunk area, and crown die-back in a top-down pattern. To date the emerald ash borer is blamed for killing millions of ash trees in the U.S..

Asian Longhorn Beetles

An Asian longhorn beetle infestation is detrimental for a tree; it is essential that you stop any outbreaks as quickly as possible. Adult beetles chew into the bark of trees to lay eggs. Once these eggs hatch, the larvae retreat deep into the interior of the infested tree to feed. The incessant feeding by the larvae prevents the tree from getting nutrients, literally starving the tree to death. It is not uncommon for a tree infested with Asian longhorn beetles to just fall apart. The most commonly affected trees are maples, but this species of beetles has also been found in elms, willows, and poplars.

Gypsy Moth

Gypsy moths are voracious eaters, and their favorite targets are aspen and oak trees. This species is responsible for defoliating millions of acres of vegetation. There are currently established populations in the Northeastern United States, but its reach is spreading each year. Luckily, there are pesticide treatments that can eradicate gypsy moths, and once a tree is treated it is typically immune to future infestations.

Spruce Budworm

Spruce budworms typically infest fir trees and northern spruces in the eastern half of the United States. Like other tree pests, it is the larvae of spruce budworms that cause the bulk of the destruction. They feed on the needles and buds of the infested trees, causing defoliation from the top down. There are several insecticides and pesticides available that can get rid of spruce budworms and prevent future infestations.