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Signs & Symptoms of Common Tree Pests Found in Georgia

Unfortunately for property owners in Georiga, there are destructive insects like to make a mess of trees. Tree pests cause damage through chewing, sucking or boring in the foliage or timber of trees. An infestation of pests on your property can have a long-term impact on the health and appearance of your trees.

There are some signs and symptoms you can look out for on your trees. These pests are the most common ones you will see in the Southern U.S., including Georgia. You can potentially save your trees if you catch the insects soon enough.

Chewing Insects

Cankerworms are the worst chewing insect in Georgia. It is attracted to elms, ash, fruit trees, beech, hickory, oaks and maples. The larvae of the cankerworm will feed on the leaves of any of these trees. Cankerworm larvae will eat away almost the entire leaf if left to wreak havoc.

To halt a cankerworm infestation before it gets out of hand, you can have a professional apply insecticide. Try to time these visits when you first catch the larvae at work.

Sucking Insects

Gloomy scale is a strange insect infestation that can be hard to catch. This type of insect is flat and gray, with a disc shape. The gloomy scale that you see on the trunks or stems of your trees is a protective coating. These insects cover themselves as they lay eggs. The resulting insects are crawlers, which use straw-shaped mouths to suck out the nutrients of your tree trunks.

Red maples are very susceptible to gloomy scale infestations. You will notice dying branches, black trunk coloration, yellowing leaves, and a general decline in health. Part of prevention involves choosing a good spot to plant your maples on your property. Avoid dry areas because red maples love moisture.

If you have any infected red maples, call an arborist. In May and June, the crawlers are active, and they can give you a systemic insecticide to kill them.


Oak trees in the South can be seen with small balls hanging from their leaves in the spring. This ball is called an oak gall, or a deformity created by wasps or mites to house eggs. A gall does not usually cause damage to the health of your tree. However, many galls can cause early leaf drop.

To get rid of galls, you should prune away gall-infested twigs and branches. Destroy branches and crush the galls so that the larvae never hatch. Time applications of pesticides for the spring to stop them from being formed.


Spider mites and lace bugs are two common pests in Georgia. You can find them on the undersides of leaves if you look carefully. One huge indication of an infestation is a stippling design on the upper parts of tree leaves. Watch out for these pests on many popular tree species. Spider mites are drawn to various trees like hollies, arborvitae, azaleas, camellias, spruce, and junipers. Lace bugs enjoy andromeda, azalea, quince, cotoneaster, apple, American elm, oak, cherry, and sycamore trees.

In the summer, you can spray the bottoms of leaves with water to get rid of spider mites. You can also look for a specific pesticide for mites. Ask a professional to recommend an oil product to apply in winter to kill spider mite eggs. An arborist will also usually suggest using a horticultural oil for lace bugs when they are dormant.


The chewing activity of borers causes incredible damage to trees if left alone. Boring insects are some of the worst tree pests that you will find in Georgia. The southern pine beetle is the most destructive insect for pines and can kill every pine on your property. Prevention is vital with southern pine beetles. Try to reduce environmental stress for your pine trees.

Another destructive borer is the Asian long-horned beetle. Be on the watch for this invasive, bullet-shaped insect if you have hardwood trees on your property. A sign of Asian long-horned beetles is sawdust piles around the base of your trees.

Ambrosia beetles are also a threat to trees in Georgia. These tree pests commonly infest dead and dying trees. Once these beetles have gone inside your trees, you cannot kill them with insecticides. Prevent attacks early on during their active months to save your trees.


If you are experiencing any trouble with your trees, get in touch with the tree service experts at Proscapes & Tree today.

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