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Bugs that Kill Trees

5 Bugs that Kill Trees

This article will help you identify which bugs are harmful to your trees and which are not. These tiny insects are very destructive. Therefore, we mention the prevention strategies that will help you protect your trees.

5 Bugs that Kill Trees

5 Bugs that Kill Trees

These tiny insects can make it much easier for tree diseases like:

  • Blight tree diseases
  • Anthracnose disease
  • Cankers tree disease
  • Verticillium wilt
  • Root rotting
  • Tree rust disease
  • Powdery mildew

Therefore, you must take action when seeing one of these bugs that kill trees in NJ. The most common bugs that kill trees include:

  1. Forest and Eastern tent caterpillars
  2. Emerald ash borer
  3. Asian longhorned beetle
  4. Ips pine beetles
  5. Gypsy moths

Let’s talk about each one:

Forest And Eastern Tent Caterpillars

Tent caterpillars take the lead with these two types. The forest tent caterpillar has white spots down the back instead of the solid white stripe on the eastern tent caterpillar.

The forest tent caterpillars don’t make tents and prefer oak and other shade trees to wild cherry. The life cycle is similar to the eastern tent caterpillar.

The eastern tent caterpillar also gets the name lappet moth, which belongs to the Lasiocampidae family. It is normal to find it in oak, poplar, maple, or birch woods, where it may be a serious pest. They like to nibble on shade and fruit trees like cherry, apple, and crabapple.

When caterpillars are still tiny and have not caused severe tree defoliation, you can control them with the least insecticide.

One preventive way is by having a welcoming environment for birds and using insecticide to kill them without causing any harm to your trees, your landscape, or even other animals that can visit your property.

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

This invasive and highly destructive species is also known by the acronym EAB. It is a green buprestid or jewel beetle native to north-eastern Asia that feeds on ash trees.

Females lay eggs in bark crevices on ash trees, and larvae feed underneath the bark of ash trees to emerge as adults in one to two years.

Local governments in North America are attempting to control it by monitoring its spread, diversifying tree species, and using insecticides and biological control.

Its metallic-green and bronze colors turn them into beautiful insects. But these long bugs that usually feed on the bark eventually kill trees. In most cases, damaged trees lose their limbs and then fall.

One of the significant signs is the yellow or white color of ash trees; other symptoms include tree suckers, bark tunneling, and splitting bark.

If you suspect you have an infested tree, you should burn any remaining firewood after the pruning practice and before springtime to help eliminate the possibility of the borer spreading.

Asian Longhorned Beetle

This Korean bug is a threat to America’s hardwood trees. Also known as the starry sky, sky beetle, or ALB, it feeds on various hardwoods, including maple, birch, elm, ash, poplar, horse-chestnut, and willow.

They have shiny black and white eye-catching antennae that can be twice as long as their body.

Trees attacked by them often have wilted foliage and canopy dieback, but the main signs to look for include:

  • Round exit holes from adults emerging from tree barks beginning in late July.
  • Depressions in the outer bark.
  • Deep exit holes. You can insert a pencil to determine if the gap is at least an inch deep.
  • Sawdust, or frass, accumulates at the tree’s base or on branches.

When having this tree pest, it’s best to call a professional to take care of it.

Ips Pine Beetles

Ips Pine Beetles

It is a genus of beetles in the family Curculionidae. They are bark beetles distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Some are introduced species in Australia and Africa.

Sometimes known as “engraver beetles,” they are bark beetles that damage pine and spruce trees.

These tree-boring insects have a black to reddish-brown appearance with a recessed area on their backs.

Some signs include discoloration of your tree, H-shaped tunnels under the bark, and the sudden appearance of woodpeckers around your tree.

You can prevent infestation by taking good care of your trees through pruning and being mindful of where you place your freshly cut logs.

Gypsy Moths Kill Trees

The larvae, or caterpillars, of the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) are a common defoliator of a wide range of broadleaved trees and shrubs.

The gypsy moth is native to parts of continental Europe, where populations periodically reach high numbers.

They feed on the leaves of various broadleaved tree and shrub species, showing a preference for oaks and poplars.

Gypsy moths will also feed on small trees and shrubs in gardens, including ornamental conifers and especially beech hedges, which are a frequent target. 

Eggs are the most significant identification symptoms.

You can prevent your trees from suffering from these bugs by adequately fertilizing, pruning, and watering. Also, you should check out your tree around springtime to see if any eggs are lying around your tree trunk to take them out.

“As a bonus, here we offer our complete Oak Tree Borers Treatment DIY.”


Bugs tunnel the inner bark layer of a tree, disrupting the distribution of nutrients and water throughout the tree.

The tiny insects eat the leaves, stopping the photosynthesis process, vital in producing the energy needed for the tree to survive.

Once in trees, they introduce disease organisms that can severely damage or even kill the entire tree.

You need to be focused on each beetle to stop its spread. We hope you enjoyed this article that will help you make the proper practices to avoid these bugs climbing to your trees and killing them.

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