Spring is a fantastic season when everything starts to burst into life. Of course, this also includes a few pests and insects that can interfere with your shrubs and trees. When the weather starts warming up, you need to be aware of these tree pests and the signs you should be looking for. There are prevalent and destructive insects that often cause serious damage to trees or shrubs, which can eventually lead to the death of a tree.


– Gypsy Moth

The Gypsy Moth is known for its destructive path of defoliating over a million acres of forested areas every year since 1980. As the leaves start to emerge during the spring, these moths lay millions of eggs that hatch into ravenous larvae. The larvae are what defoliates a range of hardwood trees, especially maple, elm, birch, and oak.

What To Look For:

If you see masses of teardrop-shaped, yellowish eggs, these clusters can contain as many as 500 eggs. They are usually found on the trunks of trees during spring. Damage ranges from damage to the leaves to 100% defoliation.

– Eastern Tent Caterpillar

These pests also appear in the month of spring over the eastern parts of the United States. They feed on sugar maples, aspens, oaks, and other types of hardwood shade trees. The worms emerge in spring when the tree starts to bud. Signs of an infestation include big silken tents, stripped leaves, and stunted tree growth.

Wood Borers

– The Emerald Ash Borer

These insects are responsible for the death of millions of Ash trees every year. The adult borer is tiny and not easy to spot. Yet a tree that is infested with these borers will display S-shaped, serpentine feeding galleries that are filled with sawdust and frass. In the later part of spring, you will probably notice holes shaped like a D across the bark when the adults start to emerge. An Ash Tree with yellowing foliage and crown dieback that occurs from the top downwards is usually infested with this type of borer.

Sap-Sucking Insects

– Aphids

Aphids eat the sap in the stems and leaves of a tree or shrub. They leave behind a thick sticky syrup known as honeydew. Large infestations can inhibit new growth or cause misshapen, yellow, or curling leaves. It is easy to detect aphids by looking under the leaves for these pests or checking for “sooty mold” that is attracted by what they leave behind (the honeydew).

Scale Insects

Scale insects eat the inner parts of the bark on a tree and often cause stunted growth, leaf yellowing, branch dieback, or even tree death. Scale insects will leave behind layers of sooty mold, or you will spot colorful clumps across the twigs or leaves. Close to the end of winter should be the right time to treat an infected tree before these pests reemerge during the month of spring.

Spring is the ideal time to check for these harmful and devastating pests. If your shrubs or trees are showing premature leaf drop or unusual yellowing, or you have noticed any of the symptoms mentioned above that relate to an infestation, call an arborist in your local area for the best treatment option before it is too late!

Call Now Button