Healthy trees are essential for maintaining vibrant landscapes, boosting property values, and benefiting the environment. However, a variety of pests pose threats to these green giants. Being informed about these pests, their signs, and possible prevention methods can help tree owners preserve the integrity and beauty of their arboreal assets. 

Bark Beetles

These tiny pests, often no larger than a grain of rice, bore through tree bark and lay their eggs in the cambium layer. The larvae, once hatched, feed on this layer, essentially choking the tree as they interrupt nutrient and water flow. Symptoms of bark beetle infestations include patches of missing bark, fine sawdust, and small holes in the trunk.

Gypsy Moths

Originating from Europe, gypsy moths have become a significant pest in many parts of the world. Their voracious appetite for leaves can defoliate trees, weakening them and making them prone to diseases. The caterpillar stage is particularly destructive, with blue and red dots distinguishing them.


These small, soft-bodied insects might seem harmless at first, but they feed on the sap of plants, extracting essential nutrients. Aphids also produce honeydew, a sticky substance that attracts mold, further compromising tree health. If a tree's leaves appear curled, yellow, or distorted, aphids might be the culprits.

Scale Insects

These pests can be hard to spot due to their stationary nature and shield-like appearance. They latch onto branches and trunks, feeding on the tree's sap. Over time, this can weaken the tree, leading to yellow leaves and stunted growth.

Emerald Ash Borer

This invasive beetle specifically targets ash trees. The larvae feed on the inner bark, obstructing the flow of nutrients. A sign of infestation is the unique D-shaped exit holes they leave behind on the bark.

Treatment and Prevention

There are several things that can help prevent the prevalence of pests or combat their impact on your trees. 

  • Promoting Tree Health: A well-maintained tree is the best defense against pests. Proper watering, fertilization, and pruning can bolster a tree's natural defenses, making it less appealing to would-be invaders.
  • Allowing Beneficial Insects: Nature has its way of maintaining balance. Ladybugs, predatory mites, and parasitic wasps can control pest populations. Encouraging these beneficial insects can be an eco-friendly solution.
  • Consulting Experts: When unsure about a pest or the health of a tree, consulting an arborist or tree service professional is recommended. They can provide advice, identify pests, and suggest appropriate treatments.

Trees, the silent guardians of landscapes, face numerous challenges in their long lifespans. Recognizing threats and acting promptly ensures these towering beauties remain healthy, majestic, and enduring symbols of nature's grandeur.

Reach out to a local tree service to learn more.