Combatting Summer Tree Pests

Summer Tree Pests

Here’s this summer’s starting lineup of Invasive Pests

New Jersey has its fair share of invasive, destructive pests. (Diseases, Fungus and Insects….. oh my).  These are a few of the insects to be on the lookout for as we enter the summer.

The Emerald Ash Borer which attacks Ash trees.  This nasty little guy is difficult to see with the untrained eye.  Emerald Ash Borer larvae burrow into the bark and feed internally, making detection even more difficult, as they starve and killing the trees. More visible signs of infestation yellowing and thinning leaves leaves, canopy loss, bark loss and semi-circular or D shaped holes in the bark.  Early detection is key to saving trees from infestation so contact one of our experts at Precision Tree and Landscape if you note any of these warning signs or have any uncertainty.

Ash Borer Emerald

The Bronze Borer which attacks several species of Beech trees.  One of the early warning sign of bronze birch borer damage is the yellowing and thinning of foliage in the canopy layer of the tree.  Hot and dry weather makes the symptoms more evident.  Early remmediation is always more effective so don’t delay and contact Precision Tree and Landscape to help evict these guys before they get more comfortable.  Later symptoms include the further browning of foliage that will drop from the branches, with the symptoms progressing down the tree to the main trunk. Infestations usually begin in smaller diameter crown branches, moving down the tree over successive years.

Gypsy Moths that ravage oak trees, including New Jersey’s state tree the Red Oak.  Gpsy Moth infestations are easier to spot compared to most invasive insect infestations.  They lay rather visible eggs, often on the treebark, that are tan or yellowish and are usually 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.  The larvae are fuzzy caterpillars, that sometimes can appear almost cute.  But don’t be fooled, these guys can consume the entire foiliage of your trees.  To find out more on how to prevent gypsy moths from defoliating your tress, contact Precision Tree and Landscape at (201) 709-5583 .

Gpsy Moth Insect

The Eastern Tent Caterpillar that focuses on Cherry trees. This last one is a lesser extent because it is a ‘native’ pest and while caterpillars will eat the leaves, it is not anything the tree cannot handle. Non Native trees may not be so lucky.  An infestation of the Eastern Tent Caterpillar is fairly easy to spot as they leave little web “tents” in the forks of tree branches.

tent caterpillar

Then there is the area’s newest invasive and destructive pest, the Spotted Lanternfly.  This pest attacks fruit trees and over 70 different hardwood trees.  It leaves behind an enzyme that seeps into the tree and damages it from the inside out. Up until now there has been no natural deterrent as birds seem to not like the taste of them.  Grasshoppers and some spiders will eat them, just not in enough quantity to do much good.  Then there are poisons, the newest has the active ingredients dinotefuran or imidacloprid.  They must be applied at the right time of year for trees to absorb it.  Whether it is applied as a drench, by banding or injecting, follow the label instructions when handling this or any type of poison.  Precision Tree Service, a professional tree company can help combat and remediate damage caused by the Spotted Lanternfly.

You Can Help

If you find the spotted lanternfly, it is suggested that it is placed in a baggie with liquid hand sanitizer. Or crush them. Any egg sacks found need to be scraped off and again crushed. If the pests have caused a quarantine to be in place in your county, you must be careful moving or removing items from your property.

Ecology Fights Back

The Spotted Lanternfly may have met its nemesis. Discovered first in Berks County PA, one of several Pennsylvania counties under quarantine because of the Spotted Lanternfly; a pair of fungi has been taking on the insect and winning. The invasive insect from Asia has been turning up dead. It seems that contact with the fungi resulted in death. The fungi, Batkoa major and Beauveria bassiana are native. Researchers found bugs killed by Batkoa major on plants. The lanternflies crawl up a plant or other surface due to the mind altering of the fungi and then get sewn in place. From there, the fungus shoots out spores that fall on lanternflies below or get swept up by the wind. The other fungus, Beauveria bassiana, was found on dead lanternflies on the ground. That fungus appears as a fuzzy white coating on the lanternfly corpses. Research is ongoing as it has been noted that these fungi don’t negatively affect native insects or plants. Having another weapon in the battle against the Spotted Lanternfly would be beneficial. Whether these fungi can be propagated to the quantities needed remains to be seen.