How to Kill Bugs on Trees

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Keeping bugs away from your tree is often essential for its health.
Keeping bugs away from your tree is often essential for its health. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

A bug infestation on your tree can quickly get out of hand. Many varieties of bugs can harm and even kill your tree. Insects are typically classified into three groups based on their means of destruction: sucking, boring and chewing. Sucking insects suck fluid from leaves and twigs. Borers tunnel their way into trees and typically cause a large amount of damage. Chewing insects feast on the tree’s foliage. Removing the insects from the trees is often essential to the plant’s health. A few tools are available that will make your venture more successful.

Things You'll Need

  • Insecticidal soap
  • Bug band
  • Sticky trap
  • Tweezers
  • Bugs
  • Bucket of hot water
  • Insecticide

Apply insecticidal soap to the tree. Insecticidal soap is similar to insecticides, but aren’t as harsh or dangerous to the environment. Insecticidal soap is effective against most bugs and typically won’t cause damage to the tree or the vegetation around it, unlike some insecticides. This product is typically applied directly to the tree and its inhabitants; however, read the label for best results.

Apply a bug band around the tree. These products are typically covered with a sticky substance that traps the bugs. This tool is especially effective against caterpillars and prevents them from migrating from tree to tree. Bug bands typically contain any insect that crawls across them. Placing sticky traps around the base of the tree also collects bugs when they walk across them. A combination of the two will likely get rid of your insect problem.

Remove the insects with your hands, if possible. Larger bugs can often be removed with tweezers or gloved hands. Remove the bugs from the tree, then place them in a bucket of hot water to destroy them. Although this method is effective on smaller trees, it may be impossible to remove them using this technique if your tree is large.

Spray the tree with an insecticide that contains pyrethrins. Insecticides are typically effective in eliminating bugs; however, they are potentially dangerous to you and your tree. Most sprays are applied directly to the bugs and surrounding area. Read the directions on your product’s label for best results.

Tips & Warnings

  • Healthy trees are typically affected less by bugs less than unhealthy trees. Therefore, water the plant and feed it as recommended for its species to keep it healthy.
  • Always wear protective gear when using insecticides. Wear pants, a long-sleeve shirt, gloves, a facial mask, boots and goggles when applying the product.

References

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