Beat the Bugs: How to Get Rid of Overwintering Tree Pests in North Texas
Date October 04, 2022
As the temperatures start to drop in North Texas, many of us are rejoicing at the thought of cooler weather. But for our trees, this can mean trouble. Some pests that we usually see in the spring and summer months can survive the winter by sheltering in dormant trees. These overwintering pests can cause serious damage to North Texas trees when they hatch in the spring. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to treat and get rid of overwintering pests in Dallas/Fort Worth. We’ll also talk about which pests spend the winter in trees and where to find the best tree care company for tree insect management. Read on to learn more!
What Are Overwintering Tree Pests?
Overwintering pests are tree insects that nest or take shelter in trees during the winter and emerge in spring. While overwintering tree pests are a problem for Dallas homeowners, getting rid of them before they have a chance to hatch is the best way to prevent an even bigger problem.
Many of these tree pests feed on the leaves, trunks, branches, and stems during the winter, secreting a sweet, sticky substance called honeydew. Honeydew attracts other pests like ants and flies and can cause sooty mold, a common North Texas tree disease. When left unmanaged, sooty mold on the surface of leaves blocks photosynthesis and inhibits plant growth.
Which Pests Overwinter in Dallas Trees?
The most common tree insects that spend the winter nestled on North Texas trees include scales, aphids, and mites.
- Overwintering scale insects appear as flat, brown, waxy bumps or white to light gray felt-like encrustations on the surface of tree bark, twigs, and stems. When crushed, they may excrete a pink blood-like fluid.
- Scale bugs overwinter on Dallas trees during the nymph and pupae stages, sucking the sap from the bark or buds of trees and excreting honeydew that can eventually develop into black sooty mold.
- Certain aphids draw sap from plant tissue and feed on foliage, while others feed on twigs, limbs, branches, and tree roots. Aphids can stunt plant growth, deform or discolor blooms or fruit, and cause galls to form on leaves, stems, and roots if left unmanaged.
- Most aphids overwinter as eggs on trees or in plant debris and can appear in different colors ranging from dark brown, black, green, yellow, and off-white on leaves and tree bark, stems, and twigs. Depending on the aphid species, wingless adults can also overwinter on the bark of trees.
- Adult spider mites can overwinter in tree bark or lay tiny, round eggs attached to silky webs on the undersides of leaves or tree branches that hatch in March or April.
- Severe spider mite infestations can lead to significant plant harm and tree death. Treating them during the winter can stop mites at the early stages of development to effectively lower populations.
If you’re worried tree pests are overwintering on your trees, contact an ISA Certified Arborist immediately at (817) 592-6846. Depending on the severity of the infestation, corrective tree pruning, tree removal, or professional pesticide application can be administered during winter and early spring. TreeNewal’s Dallas tree care specialists can also prescribe an ongoing prevention and maintenance plan to save your trees before it’s too late.
For more information on the most common tree pests in North Texas, contact an ISA Certified Arborist or check out our blog:TreeNewal’s Top 10 List: Insects and Disease Management in North Texas
How to Treat Overwintering Tree Pests in North Texas
Dormant oils, or horticultural oils, are a great solution to help control overwintering tree pest populations. This treatment method acts as physical control, not chemical, so it’s only effective if a thorough coating is applied to ensure the entire insect or egg is coated with oil residue. The oil residue covers the holes the overwintering insects or eggs use to breathe, so they eventually suffocate. Timing is everything regarding this treatment method, as dormant oil should only be applied when the tree is entirely dormant before new growth occurs. Late fall through early spring are ideal when temperatures are above freezing but below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Depending on the severity of the infestation, the tree may need additional applications of pesticides, tree pruning to remove infestation sites, or tree removal. Treatment methods can differ if your tree is recovering from other environmental stressors or tree diseases.
TreeNewal Tree Insect Management
Tree insect management can be daunting without proper experience. If you’re unsure of the appropriate timing, technique, and how to coordinate with other applications or pesticides, contact an ISA Certified Arborist to ensure your trees are getting the best care possible. A TreeNewal Dallas tree care specialist understands the local ecosystem, native trees, and how each plant responds to various North Texas tree pests, diseases, and environmental stressors. They’ll conduct a tree health assessment to determine the exact cause of your tree problem and recommend a comprehensive treatment and prevention plan.
TreeNewal is a full-service sustainable tree care company offering residential and commercial tree services in Dallas, Argyle, Denton, Fort Worth, Flower Mound, Southlake, and Westlake. Contact our Dallas tree care specialists today at (817) 592-6846 and enjoy tailored tree care advice and the best tree health services in North Texas!
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