What Happens to Animals and Bugs in a Tree when the Tree Dies?

When you notice a tree in your yard is decaying, you will surely have a lot of questions. As you likely already know, trees can attract a lot of different kinds of insects, birds, and other wildlife. But what happens to those living things once the tree starts to die? Read on below to find out more about what happens in the aftermath of tree death.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are one of the many types of bugs that live in your trees, dead or alive. If the bugs stick to the tree, this is an infestation you don’t have to worry about. However, if looking for a new place to live, these ants can make their way into your home.

They’re attracted to moist wood, which is what draws them to trees. So you’ll want to make sure the wood in and surrounding your home won’t invite them in. Take care of any leaks or water damage before it permanently alters the wood. Replace any dead or damaged wood from your home as well.

The most important thing you can do to make sure carpenter ants stay in the trees: keep the branches in good condition. And stop them from growing so long that they become close to your home. This means regularly pruning and trimming the trees. Unfortunately, people who choose to prune or trim trees themselves can wind up wounding the branches, leading to a whole host of problems. Including infestations that, unlike carpenter ants, could actually lead to tree death. That’s why it’s smart to use a tree service company to take care of the branches instead.

Harmful Insects

While some bugs are perfectly harmless, others can be a major cause of tree death. Insects to look out for include gypsy moths, emerald ash borders, Asian long-horned beetles, and pine beetles.

In some cases, harmful insects will invade your trees once they’re already in a weaker condition. That can be due to environmental issues or disease. How can you stop these harmful insects ahead of time? You may be able to catch and treat a tree disease before it destroys the tree’s vascular system. However, the main thing to do is to keep the trees in good condition to avoid exposure to disease in the first place.

If there are harmful bug infestations, branches become significantly weakened. Since they are no longer able to support the tree’s foliage, branches are more likely to fall off. It also makes the tree more susceptible to wind damage.

These harmful infestations won’t just die along with the tree itself, either. Instead, once the tree is dead, they’ll move on and damage other trees on your property. Some of the insects that will kill one tree directly will then cause fungi to spread to the surrounding trees.

Does a Dead Tree Bring in Other Animals and Bugs?

Yes, tree death can attract even more bugs. These include termites and wood-boring insects. Termites, of course, are a major pest that you will want to avoid. These harmful bugs will then multiply, leading to even more tree harm and/or tree deaths.

Believe it or not, the dead bark has nutrients. This is why there are many types of insects and animals that will eat the dead tree material. These can include woodlice, millipedes, and worms.

Many animals will also use the dead tree as a place to find shelter, food, and water. Birds, bats, raccoons, and squirrels can still live inside the trees. Birds will often still make nests in the branches of dead trees.

Even more types of animals and bugs will take to a tree once it’s fallen over. In a vast forest, this is perfectly fine. However, not when you live in a residential neighborhood. If your tree falls over, it can cause a great deal of damage to your property or your neighbors’. That’s why it’s so important to take care of a dead or dying tree as soon as possible. It will save everyone a lot of headaches if the tree is carefully removed by a professional before it can cause extra damage.


You’ll likely notice that dead trees usually have nooks and crannies created from the damage. Squirrels will often use those spaces within a damaged or dead tree to store and hide their food. Something else to note about squirrels: they’re constantly growing incisor teeth. Those sharp teeth can cause a lot of damage to trees as well as electrical wires and other parts of your property.

And while squirrels still use dead trees, they can also move into your attic. Sometimes, squirrels make their way into your home because the branches are so long and/or so close to your home. This is yet another reason you should make sure to regularly trim the tree’s branches. Doing so can also help prevent tree death in the first place and save you the headache of unwanted guests in your attic later.


Rats are often attracted to dead trees, choosing those trees to nest in. Once they are in your dead trees, rats can also migrate your home. This is because they will continue to look for food and shelter wherever they can find it.

One specific type of rat that shows up in certain areas is known as a roof rat. These rats are notable for climbing to high-up places. If the high branches of the tree reach your roof, the rats can find their way into your home. That’s another reason it’s so important to keep your branches trimmed and to remove dead trees before they become host to pests.

Turn to the experts here at Mr. Tree for help with tree death and its aftermath. Our arborists can do a thorough inspection to see whether your tree is beyond saving. If it can be rescued, we’ll do what it takes to bring your tree back to health. If it is beyond repair, however, it’s best to remove it. Getting regular tree service, like tree trimming, can also help protect the trees from disease and death. You can find out more information about Mr. Tree and many tips for keeping trees healthy on our website.


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About Mr.Tree, Inc.

We take pride in our quality service and complete and total customer satisfaction. Our professional and certified arborists have the knowledge and experience to take care of all your tree service needs. We have a highly trained team that is always up to date on all the latest techniques and equipped with the most state of the art tools to handle all your tree care needs. Feel free to browse through our website for more information about the services we offer.

We can help you with everything from lot clearing to tree pruning. We would be more than happy to help you turn your residential or commercial property into something you can be proud of. If you want to use a company that offers the most comprehensive tree services in the area, call Mr. Tree today.

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