Insect Management

We can manage hundreds of insects that infest trees and landscape plants, such as Emerald Ash Borer, Birch Borer, Japanese Beetle, Leaf Biner and Aphids. We always start with diagnosing the insect problems, so that we can prescribe treatments that target the problem pest.

Bronze Birch Borer

Birch trees are a very popular choice in Minnesota landscapes due to their attractive bark texture and coloring. Unfortunately, they become stressed in urban environments and are susceptible to bronze birch borer. The adult bronze birch borer is slender, copper colored with a metallic appearance. Its larvae are white and reside under the bark and emerge late May through July. Symptoms of a bronze birch borer infection include yellowing of the leaves in the upper crown in the middle of the summer with smaller branches dying first. You may notice D-shapped exit holes on larger branches and the trunk. Pruning at the proper time, fertilizing when nutrients are absent, sufficient watering and proper mulching are all ways to maintain tree health and minimize additional stress on the tree that may intensify an infection. When borers are present, chemical control through tree injections is the most effective way to eliminate the borer.

Emerald Ash Borer

The emerald ash borer is a relatively new insect to Minnesota, having shown up in 2009. This borer is detrimental to green ash trees which are a primary tree in many Minnesota yards. The larvae cause the primary damage as they feed on the inner bark of the tree and disrupt the tree’s ability to transport nutrients and water. Symptoms of emerald ash borer infestations are D-shaped holes in the trunk or branches of the tree and dead branches near the top of the tree. It is generally accepted that it is not if but when emerald ash borer will infect a tree. If your ash tree is healthy with no symptoms, you may want to consider practices that can promote healthy growth such as proper pruning, fertilization, watering, and mulching. Many homeowners elect to treat their ash trees with insecticide prior to infestation, especially if that tree is critical to their property. Once you have an infestation, you need to determine if the tree is worth saving. Trees can be treated with an insecticide to control (and prevent) the emerald ash borer. Treatments need to be repeated annually or bi-annually to prevent the borer from infecting the tree. Thus, deciding to save the tree with treatments is a lifetime decision (at least as of now).

Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles are a serious threat to trees and plants as they feed on approximately 300 plant species. Japanese beetles feed on the foliage of plants detracting from the visual appearance of the plant and weakening the plant. Japanese beetles can be identified by the green heads and brown wings. Adult beetles will emerge from the ground in June and feed from then through July. Symptoms of a beetle problem are skeleton like leaves as their feeding leaves only the veins of the leaf. Many people place pheromone traps to catch the beetles. This is a bad idea as the pheromone traps catch only a portion of the beetles and attract many more into the area that will feed on your plants. Fortunately, we can apply products to control the beetle. We evaluate plant species, time of year and level of infestation to select a proper application for your site. At this time, this is the most effect way to manage beetle populations. Planting plants that are less appetizing, such as red oaks, lilacs, spruce and pines are good long-term strategies for managing populations.

Pine Beetles

Pine beetles bore galleys under a tree’s bark. The blue stain fungus that these insects carry makes them fatal to a tree. They can kill a tree very fast. A healthy pine tree can repel a pine beetle attack. Prevention is key since there is no cure. You know you have pine beetles if the tree is leaking sap, has a bad odor and has sawdust trails by the base of the tree. When an infestation is caught early, an insecticide treatment may reduce damage and extend the life of the tree.

Aphids and Scale Insects

These buggers extract sap from the plant and then excrete it. This causes a sticky mess all over anything around the plant and yellowing of parts of the plant. The mess and their feeding is generally not detrimental to the plant. Fortunately controlling these is relatively easy. To manage existing infestations of aphids it is often advantageous to use the garden hose to wash the plants. This will wash away the aphids and their sticky mess. However, this will not prevent them from coming back. To prevent them from causing further problems an insecticide is often applied. For scale insects, the infected portion of the plant can be trimmed to remove the scale from the plant. Insecticides can also be used on scales to manage the population and keep the plant intact.

When it comes to controlling insects, whether through insecticides or management practices you need a service that knows exactly what to do.


Contact bioTree to learn about our services and discuss your situation.


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