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3 Types of Bugs That Represent a Danger to Your Trees: Have You Spotted Any of Them Around?

Trees are beautiful and majestic pieces of nature that provide a variety of benefits for the Earth and people. Unfortunately, trees are vulnerable to the destruction caused by a variety of bugs. These bugs can damage a tree and even kill it. Not only can this diminish the look of a property, but it can also make the tree a danger when it is near people or structures.

These destructive bugs can be stopped if action is taken early enough. However, it can be hard to tell the difference between a regular bug that likes to crawl around a tree and the various bugs that will feed on the tree. This makes it important for property owners to familiarize themselves with the three main categories of bugs that are dangerous to trees.

Chewing Insects
Chewing insects, also known as defoliating insects, can damage the tree from the outside. These insects tend to eat the foliage of the tree. When they attack the leaves, it compromises the tree's ability to get nutrients from the sun. If chewing insects are suspected, it is important to contact a professional for plant health care services.

These chewing insects can eat away all the leaves from a tree. They also attack the buds and flowers on the tree that can hinder its ability to grow properly. Some chewing insects will attack the fruit of any type of fruit-bearing tree. These insects include Japanese beetles, tent caterpillar, gypsy moths, and others.

These creatures are more easily detected than most tree-damaging insects. Early signs of a problem can include leaves with holes or even missing leaves on a tree. Minor defoliation usually will not kill a healthy tree. However, repeated attacks over several years can reduce the tree's ability to grow and may result in the death of the tree.

Boring Insects
Boring insects can eat away at a tree from the inside. These insects are considered the most destructive pests of trees. These boring insects will tunnel their way into the bark of the tree. They will then feed on the wood inside. During their tunneling, these insects destroy the water and sap systems that provide the tree the nutrients it needs.

It can be hard to identify these insects due to their living deep within the tree. The best defense against these insects is to keep trees healthy. Borers rarely infest healthy plants growing in their natural environment. These insects can also be attracted to the chemicals released by trees that are under stress due to damage, environmental difficulties, or transplantation.

Some common boring insects include emerald ash borer, Asian longhorn beetle, and bark beetles. These can sometimes be identified by damage to the bark. Some cause tunneling patterns in the bark. Woodpecker activity may also be a sign that these bugs have invaded a tree.

Sucking Insects
Sucking insects tend to cause damage to trees by sucking out the sap in the leaves or young twigs. These insects include aphids, spider mites, thrips, and scale insects. These insects feed on the juices the tree needs to provide nutrients. This can cause the tree to have difficulties growing and cause loss of new leaves.

Sucking insects do not migrate and can stay on a tree for many years, reproducing and taking over the entire tree. When the sucking insects invade a tree, they eat the sap and leave behind a sticky material called honeydew. This material can promote mold growth and further damage the tree.

Any of these pests can cause serious damage to a tree. If left untreated, the insects can even invade nearby trees. This makes it important to provide proper care to the trees on a property and contact a professional at the first sign of a suspected infestation.