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Insects that Suck the Life Out of Trees, Quite Literally

As their name suggests, sucking insects inflict damage on plant and tree life by sucking out fluids from the leaves and twigs like vampires
Attack of the aphids: No tree is safe | East Idaho News
Attack of the Aphids

Are leaf eating insects damaging your trees? Sometimes it can be hard to detect, but be aware that this can be a very real problem as it can quickly turn into an infestation. Here are some leaf sucking insects that can damage your tree leaves.

Damaging Leaf Sucking Insects

Aphid Insects

Aphids are insects that damage trees by sucking the juices out of the plant tissue mainly the leaf. Aphids can generally be found on the underside of the leaf. Although aphids do not eat the leaves and cause holes on the leaves, they do produce a gradual change in the color of the foliage.

A tree or plant with an infestation of aphids will show symptoms of Chlorosis, which is a sticky residue found in and around objects near the aphid infestation. This is the excrement (honeydew) from the insect.

Scale insects feed on the inner part of a tree’s bark and can cause leaf yellowing, stunted growth, branch dieback and tree death.

Scale Insects

Scale insects leave behind a layer of sooty mold, and you can also spot their colorful clumps on leaves and twigs. The last few weeks of winter is the time to treat infected trees before they arrive again in the spring.

Now is the time to keep your eyes open for these devastating pests. If your tree is showing unusual yellowing or premature leaf drop, or if you spot any of the above symptoms of insect infestation, contact your local arborist for treatment options before it’s too late.

Spotted Lantern-Fly adults and nymphs often aggregate in large numbers on host plants.

Nymphs are known to feed on a wide range of plant species; however, adults prefer feeding and laying eggs on tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), particularly in the late summer and fall. The spotted lantern-fly injures host plants by sucking the fluids from plant tissue, threatening a plant’s health. If left unmanaged, it can eventually kill the plant. They also produce copious amounts of a sugary liquid called honeydew, which can promote the growth of a black-colored fungus called sooty mold, and attract other insects.

Take Action:

Spotted Lantern-Fly

As their name suggests, sucking insects inflict damage on plant and tree life by sucking out fluids from the leaves and twigs like vampires. But instead of sucking and feeding on blood, they feed on plant juices, including the nutrients that the plant needs to thrive.

Most of these types of bugs seldom move or migrate. They typically stay in one location, living under a hard protective coating. Their byproduct is a sticky substance called honeydew, which contains unprocessed plant material and often promotes mold growth that can harm the tree foliage.

The best recommendation for controlling the spread of sucking insects is to immediately kill them on contact to prevent reproduction. But of course, proper tree care and maintenance is always an effective approach. Call us today or schedule online by clicking “contact” for a complimentary tree assessment! 


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