Six Common Tree-Killing Insects in Florida

tree-killing insects

Thanks to the wide range of tree species in Florida, various species of bugs and insects call Florida home as well. Many of these insects don’t harm trees; others even help by eating bugs and insects that would otherwise harm your trees. Nonetheless, some insects attack and kill trees.  

As an experienced tree removal company in Palm Bay, FL, we discuss some of the most common tree-killing insects in Florida.  

1. Dogwood Borer  

A member of the clearwing moth family, these tree-killing insects have a wasp-like body and feature black and yellow bands on their abdomens. Adults emerge in spring, and females lay eggs on tree bark. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae enter the tree through scars or wounds. 

An early symptom of dogwood borer infestation is the sloughing of loose bark. Left untreated, affected trees may experience unusual growth or crown dieback. Sometimes, the dogwood borer will permanently disfigure or even kill the tree one or two years after infestation.  

2. Asian Citrus Psyllid  

The Asian citrus psyllid is a tree-killing insect that may prove challenging to spot because of its black head and brown body. Responsible for carrying the citrus-greening disease, these infamous bugs attack and feed on citrus trees causing them to drop fruit prematurely.  

The bug typically introduces bacteria into the sap that paralyzes the tree. By the time you notice Asian citrus psyllid on your tree, it’s probably too late. Unfortunately, citrus greening has no cure.  

3. Pine Bark Beetles  

Pine bark beetles ordinarily attack stressed and dying pine trees, feeding and breeding in the inner bark. They feature brown or black cylindrical bodies no more than 0.15 inches long. Adult female trees land on weak trees and attract other males and females.   

Pine bark beetles effectively remove bark around the entire tree’s circumference, often killing plant tissue above the affected spot. Moreover, pine bark beetles introduce fungi that block water flow within the tree, ultimately killing it.  

4. Tent Caterpillars  

Tent caterpillars live in large groups that stay together until they pupate. Eastern and western tent caterpillars usually build distinctive tents where they live in between food runs, whereas forest tent caterpillars roam in groups.   

Tent caterpillars have fuzzy hairs and a line or stripe on their back. They eat a wide range of plants, favoring those in the Rosaceae family, like apples and cherries.   

As the caterpillars get bigger over spring, they move on to various other deciduous plants. Although tent caterpillars don’t cause serious injury to their host plants, stressed or consecutively defoliated trees may lose branches or even die.  

5. Gypsy Moth  

The gypsy moth is perhaps one of the most destructive, invasive pests responsible for extensive tree damage. You’ll typically find gypsy moths in hardwood trees, such as elm, oak, and maple. They generally lay many eggs on the tree trunk.   

Left untreated, the hungry larvae can cause complete defoliation within a couple of weeks.  

6. Bagworms  

Bagworms affect various Florida trees, including cypress, box elder, persimmon, live oak, and juniper. In their caterpillar stage, they create the hallmark bag by blending plant materials, such as chewed leaves and silk.  

During the spring, you’ll notice these bags hanging from branches before the eggs hatch and defoliation begins.  

Get in Touch With Your Local Tree Experts  

When you need a tree care company dedicated to offering fast, safe, and efficient tree services, count on East Coast Arbor Pro. We offer high-quality tree services, including:  

  • Tree trimming and pruning  
  • Tree removal  
  • ISA certified arborist  
  • Stump grinding  

Call East Coast Arbor Pro in Palm Bay, FL, at (321) 917-9342 for more information about tree-killing insects or to learn about the symptoms of white fungus on trees.

logo copy 3

Our mission is to provide our customers with the highest quality tree care services possible. Our team is experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of tree care,


Call Now Button