The thought of having bugs on your trees may cause some people to cringe. But it happens! It’s natural and normal. Additionally, sometimes the bugs found on your tree may not be harmful to the tree itself. Some can be helpful.
Of course, it’s important to look out for these bugs on your trees to ensure that they aren’t doing any harm. However, it’s not something to fret about. Let’s take a look at some central Oregon bugs you might find on your trees.
You don’t need us to tell you that ladybugs aren’t harmful to your tree, but we’ll say it anyway. Many people enjoy having these creatures in their yards, as it gives them a more beautiful and homier feel. Plus, children of all ages love seeing ladybugs. Many believe if one lands on you, they are a form of good luck. It makes sense that people want them in their yards.
Furthermore, ladybugs are helpful to trees, as they eat harmful insects such as aphids and mealybugs. If you want to attract ladybugs to your tree, be sure to regularly prune your tree, as ladybugs like to feel well protected.
As mentioned above, aphids are harmful bugs that you don’t want on your trees (hence wanting ladybugs to get rid of them). Aphids are sap suckers that feed on the foliage stem, flower, bud, bark, and even the root tissues of trees. They are extremely small insects (only about 0.0625 to 0.125 inches long) and tend to match the color of the tree it’s settling on.
The damage that these bugs usually cause trees tends to be minor but can still have a negative impact. For instance, these bugs produce honeydew. When this builds up on the underlying plant tissue, it can encourage the growth of black sooty mold. This honeydew can also drip and fall on anything found underneath the tree, such as your home, cars, furniture, and so forth, and can be difficult to get off. Aphids can also carry viruses. However, you can easily get rid of aphids from your trees with a strong stream of water or even by hand-wiping.
Green and Brown Lacewings
Green and brown lacewings are central Oregon bugs that are good for your trees. They eat both aphids and mealybugs, which makes them helpful to your tree. These bugs have long antennae and mouthparts, both of which help them easily discover their prey and remove them from your trees for you. As you can tell by their name, they come in either green or brown colors. However, what makes them stand out is that they have net-like wings.
As mentioned above, mealybugs are bugs that aren’t good for your trees, but they are unfortunately quite common, especially when the climate is a bit warmer. They tend to be common to sunflowers, orchids, and ferns. It’s common for them to come along with ants, as these two types of insects have a special relationship. This can be beneficial to you, as you can usually follow the trail of ants to the mealybugs to find where they are on your trees. You’ll recognize these bugs, as they almost look like white cotton on trees. They tend to feed upon the sap of the plants.
Both ladybugs and lacewings eat mealybugs, making this a good and natural way to get rid of these bugs.
These bugs are sometimes referred to as the “damsel bug.” This is because they hold their front legs up, making it look as though they are lifting a skirt hem as they walk or dance around. Nabidae bugs use these forelegs to catch their prey. These bugs are beneficial to your trees, as they also get rid of pests such as aphids naturally. Especially if you have trees in your yard that grow fruit or any other types of crops, Nabidae bugs prey on many types of crop pests.
The large, bulbous eyes of Nabidae bugs are what helps make these bugs stand out on your trees, in addition to their long and thin legs.
These bugs may look great, making you think they are an asset to your yard, but they’re a destructive moth to your trees. These bugs start out as caterpillars, and that’s when they’re the biggest threat to your trees. When they’re in their larval form, tomato hornworms take the shape of large green caterpillars. They have massive horns at their rears and diagonal stripes across their bodies. Despite these stripes, they tend to blend into your tree, which makes them difficult to see. When they grow out of their larvae stage and into the adult stage, they become a gray color with orange dots on the sides of their abdomens.
In both the larvae and adult stages, they contaminate plants that they don’t eat with their feces. You can help to ensure that no eggs are laid on your trees by using floating row covers. Additionally, you can simply remove these caterpillars by hand if you find them.
Azalea Lace Bug
Not to be confused with the green and brown lacewings above that are good for your trees, these azalea lace bugs are not. Despite its name sounding pretty, these bugs are also bad for your trees. They tend to be more frequent in mid- to late May. However, they reproduce quickly and can go through several generations per year. They feed on the sap of your trees and spread diseases as they do so. You can tell that a bug is an azalea lace bug by the black and white veins that are found in their wings.
You can control these bugs by using an organic insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. It is good to avoid using chemical pesticides because these can also kill the good bugs mentioned above that are helping your trees.
Mountain Pine Beetle
These bugs are trunk and branch borers and tend to attack mostly pine trees that are at least four to five inches in diameter. If a tree is heavily infested with mountain pine beetles, it will die. You can tell if you have these bugs living in the trunk of your tree if there is red sawdust on the bark or ground around the tree. Additionally, pitch tubes on the trunk or large branches can also be another sign. Out of all the bark beetle types, these are ranked as the most destructive.
One way to help prevent these beetles from living in your tree is by making sure your tree remains healthy through proper maintenance such as watering, fertilizing, and pruning. If your tree has become unhealthy, be sure to remove it before it becomes infested.
These are just some of the central Oregon bugs that you might find on your trees and in your garden. Some are beneficial to your trees, whereas others aren’t. Don’t fret if you find any of the “bad bugs” on your trees, as you can easily remove them. If you aren’t comfortable doing this, at Mr. Tree, we’re happy to do it for you.