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Common Tree Pests

Pests on Trees

With every summer comes long days, fun in the sun, beautiful landscapes and, unfortunately, insects and pests. They literally seem to come from nowhere and immediately want to attack the trees on our properties. If not taken care of quickly, they can cause serious tree damage, which may result in tree death and removal.

Horhut Tree Experts, a Pittsburgh company specializing in quality tree care and maintenance, recommends looking out for the following common tree pests.

Douglas Fir Tussock Moth

Although the Douglas fir tussock tree prefers Douglas firs, as its name infers, it has been known to attack blue spruces and other firs in urban settings. This pest isn’t as mobile as others—it likes to stay put and attack the tree all year round. You may first notice these moths in late spring when the larvae begin feeding on fresh needles. Or you may notice egg masses on the lower tree canopy. Be careful not to touch the larvae as it emerges. There are tiny hairs on the larvae that can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions. If your tree has been infested by these moths, you will first notice reddish-brown foliage at the tree’s top and outer branches, followed by the lower and inner branches.

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

As its name suggests, these pesky tree pests appear in the eastern United States. Also known as simply tent caterpillars, these caterpillars feed on aspens, oaks, sugar maples and other hardwood shade trees.
As trees begin to bud in early spring, the caterpillars begin to emerge. If your tree has been infested, you will notice large silken tents, stunted tree growth and loss of leaves.

Gypsy Moth

For gypsy moths, you want to start looking for them on tree trunks in the spring. Since the 1980s, they are notorious for defoliated more than a million forested acres each year. In the spring as leaves appear, the gypsy moths leave masses of eggs that hatch into hungry larvae. The larvae attack hardwood trees, especially birch, elm, maple and oak. Damage ranges from just the leaf to complete defoliation. Be on the lookout for masses —potentially 500 eggs— of yellow, tear-dropped shaped eggs on your tree trunks.

Spruce Budworm

Another common tree pest in the eastern United States is the spruce budworm. When it comes to tree damage and tree death, these are one of the most destructive insects. The larvae hatch by the thousands and, in some cases, consume a tree’s entire new growth.

Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted Lanternflies, with their eye-catching spotted wings, may look pretty, but they’re actually quite harmful to our beloved trees. See, they have a real sweet tooth for tree sap, especially from fruit trees, hardwoods, and vines. But when they feed on a tree, they leave behind a sticky residue called “honeydew.” This not only attracts other insects but also leads to the growth of a sooty mold that can weaken or even kill the tree.

Insect Management and Tree Maintenance in Pittsburgh

If you are searching for a tree company in Pittsburgh that provides tree maintenance and insect management, look no further than Horhut Tree Experts. We understand that early detection is key to preventing insects and diseases from wreaking havoc on your landscape. With our Disease and Insect Management Program and board certified master arborists, we can help you maintain healthy trees this summer. For tree maintenance needs on your Pittsburgh property, call Horhut Tree Experts at 412-855-2703.

Jaime Horhut