Types of Insects That Damage Trees in the Fall

‍Insects and other arthropods are perhaps the most significant natural enemy of trees. They help keep plant populations in check by feeding on the unripe seeds and leaves, as well as on the mature foliage. In fact, these insects alone disseminate about 80% of plant seeds every year.

Some species feed on the sap and bark of living plants, causing severe damage that can lead to death if left unchecked. They may enter the tree through wounds or holes bored into its trunk, branches, or foliage by other arthropods such as moles, shrews or bats. Many munch on the leaves and branches until the branch or tree becomes fragile. Some insects come out in specific seasons like summer or fall.

As the season changes, you may wonder, "What insects are the biggest threats to trees in the Fall?" Let’s take a look at a few of these damaging insects.

Magnolia Scales

Magnolia scales are small insects that feed on the sap of magnolia trees. These insects are hard to spot once they hatch, so you often don’t notice them until spring when they start to damage the trees. The young scale insects hatch from the eggs and start feeding on the leaves. They feed on the lower part of the leaves, where the sap lies, causing brown, dry spots. If you see this, you should try to remove the insects as soon as possible.

Fall Webworms

The larvae of these insects are very similar to the moles that live in your yard. They can damage trees and shrubs. You may notice that some fall webworms have greenish-black stripes around their bodies. These insects look like a caterpillar, but when you look closely at them, you will see a black spot on each leg. Wild cherry, pecan, and persimmon trees are among their favorites.

Burrowed Bagworm

This worm is also called “bagworm”, because of how they burrow in protective bags on trees. They protect themselves by hiding in camouflage woven bags of silk and debris. Remove and destroy bags as soon as you spot them. They love to feast on maple, oak, elm, willow, cedar, and birch trees.

Obscure Scales

These insects love oak, dogwood, hickory, willow, and maple trees. Their mouthparts attach to twigs and branches where they suck fluid from. Their presence is often marked by sunken areas they have fed from. You may also notice what looks like silver glitter or wood ashes where they have infested.

In conclusion, there are a number of answers to "What insects destroy trees in the fall?". Some insects can disguise themselves in ingenious ways, while others will easily leave evidence of an infestation. If you suspect an insect infestation in your trees this fall, don’t hesitate to call a pest professional or arborist.