Massachusetts Most Common Tree Bugs & How to Stop Them

Insects infestation can be a real problem. These pesky buggers swarm or overtake your trees, eating away at your prized landscape features.

Not only is it expensive to replace these trees if attacked and killed, but no homeowner wants to worry about stepping on caterpillars or seeing fuzzy, mold-like pods on once-vibrant plants.

Those living in Massachusetts are most commonly affected by three tree bugs. We’re here to help you stop them in their tracks!

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

This beetle gets its name for its brilliant, metallic green color and its preference for burrowing inside of white or green ash trees. The invasive species lays its larvae inside of the bark, which then grow and feed on the tree’s vascular cambium throughout the winter.

Because it lives inside ash trees and out of sight, the Emerald Ash Borer is a sneaky pest. It’s actually how the beetle came to the U.S. in the first place— hidden inside of exported wood materials from Asia. The larvae can live in and feed on the same tree for years, causing the plant great long-term stress. In reaction to the feeding, the tree allocates its resources towards specific shoots, growing long and irregular branches that waste its energy. Or, the tree is simply overwhelmed and the canopy slowly dies. The trees themselves usually die within two years of showing these symptoms.

Newburyport, in particular, is loaded with ash trees and the city often has its hands full treating their city trees to prevent infections since this bugger is confirmed as close as Boxford. If you notice the leaves of your ash tree falling off or see D-shaped exit holes on your tree (from where adult beetles crawled out when the larvae matured), act quickly.

Getting Rid of Emerald Ash Borers

Some trees are, unfortunately, too far gone. If the infestation is manageable when caught, and the tree still appears healthy— with dieback symptoms less than 40%— tree injections can kill the invasive pests.

Here at Green Sphere, our most effective solutions include two emamectin benzoate products: TREE-äge® and TREE-äge G4. We apply these treatments when the adult beetles are active, usually in June. In dry conditions, a follow-up application of NutriRoot® often improves tree health and puts it on the road to natural recovery. This is done by injecting the tree trunk to innoculate the whole tree instead of spraying chemicals throughout the whole tree and risking drift on the neighboring properties, waterways or conservation land.

The best bet with ash trees is a preventative treatment before any infection has occurred, an once (really a few ml) of protection prevents a large tree removal bill in this case!

Gypsy Moth

Moth larvaGypsy Moth larvae come in the form of fuzzy caterpillars, with red or blue dots down their center. In Massachusetts, these hairy ‘pillars usually appear between April and May and transform into moths by August. But before they do, they feed excessively on many different types of tree species, eating foliage and stressing the trees’ vascular systems.

In an effort to recover from the damage, trees try to re-foliate after the feeding ends. This uses up a lot of the plant’s energy, weakening them and making them vulnerable to diseases and future investigations— which can ultimately kill many towering beauties.

See bite holes/eaten leaves on your tree? You likely have a Gypsy problem. Those who live near Route 133 in Rowley can see the damage done by these pests on a large scale, where many oak trees have died due to repeated defoliation over the past few years.

Getting Rid of Gypsy Moths

Luckily, the right tree injection remedy can help get rid of the worst tree bugs! Both preventative and remedial action can save infested trees from Gypsy Moths, depending on the time of the year applied or the extent of your tree’s damage.

Our Green Sphere team uses TREE-äge® or TREE-äge G4 and Mn-jet Fe, usually in late September, to minimize possible moth damage seen over the following spring. Trees already under attack can also be injected to ward off the pests.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

A Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is most commonly identified by its tiny, woolly ovisacs— small white dots found on hemlocks and other pine trees. From these white pods hatch adult bugs (nymphs), which look like tiny ticks— only they suck the life out of your tree instead of blood!

These little pests bear two generations of offspring a year, overlapping into the spring in Massachusetts. Their white pod clusters overtake trees, causing thinning and the death of limbs, usually from the base of the tree upwards. If untreated for multiple seasons, a healthy tree can fall after typically three to five years of heavy exposure.

Unfortunately, Woolly Adelgid infestations occur in many regions throughout our state. If you see fuzzy, white pods accumulating on your hemlock, treat your tree before they consume it entirely.

Getting Rid of Hemlock Wholly Adelgid

Trunk injections are recommended for protecting both unaffected and infested trees. Usually, these bugs start to feed in the fall, which is when we typically treat.

Here at Green Sphere, we insert an Arborjet IMA-jet® insecticide safely into your tree, followed by a NutriRoot® or Mn-jet Fe shot for extra resilience. The Hemlock Woollies die usually 14-28 days after ingesting the solution, and the effects last for up to two years.

Trust a Tree Injection Specialist

Don’t let these tree bugs consume and kill your hemlock, ash or other stunning trees!

Tree injections are not something any ol’ landscaper can always do. Turn to our fertilization team at Green Sphere, who are all trained and specialize in these truck injections and other forms of insect control.

We’ve helped homeowners all across the North Shore area to keep pests off their yard— and we’re ready to help you next. Give us a call at (855)-391-1343 or fill out this form, today.

Guide to Fertilization 

Topics: Organic Tick Control, Spring Lawn Care, Arborjet Tree Injections