When it comes to the health and vitality of trees in Atlanta, insects play a significant role. While some bugs can be beneficial by aiding in pollination or controlling harmful pests, others can pose a threat to tree health. In this newsletter, we’ll explore the distinction between good and bad bugs for trees in Atlanta, helping you understand the impact they can have on your arboreal landscape.

Good Bugs:

Certain insects contribute positively to tree health by performing essential ecological functions. Pollinators like bees and butterflies play a crucial role in the production of fruits and seeds. Pollinators are the foundation of our ecosystem and pollination is an essential part of plant reproduction. Additionally, predatory insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, and praying mantises help control populations of harmful pests that can damage trees. These beneficial bugs act as natural pest control agents, reducing the need for chemical interventions and promoting a healthier, more balanced ecosystem in Atlanta’s urban forests.

Bad Bugs:

Unfortunately, some insects can pose a threat to tree health and require attention to prevent or mitigate damage. One of the more common pests in Atlanta is the Granulate Asian Ambrosia Beetle, a serious pest because they affect a wide range of urban trees and wood shrubs, and they often kill the host. Other detrimental insects include aphids, caterpillars, and leafminers that can weaken or defoliate trees, compromising their overall health and structural integrity. It is crucial to identify these harmful pests promptly and take appropriate measures to protect the affected trees and prevent the spread of infestations.

What Should You Do:

The best way to encourage “good” bugs and discourage “bad” bugs is to have biodiversity in plant leaf – number of species of trees, as well as tree sizes and growth habits – which encourages natural predators like Ladybugs. 

Though some may advocate for pesticides, often those providing these services offer a cover spray of non-target, contact insecticide which will kill all insects, beneficial and undesirable. Once the spraying is complete (and especially if discontinued), the insects return and their population may not return in the same equilibrium. Often, the insect that comes roaring back to a high population – because the other predator insects are gone – is whichever insect has the shortest life cycle, or whichever can fly; etc. This insect is always going to interact with the environment in some way, and seldom does it go unnoticed – affecting plant life in more drastic ways. 

At Boutte tree, we recommend proactively taking care of trees to keep them healthy. By keeping trees healthy, we help them naturally resist infestation. With the Granulate Asian Ambrosia Beetle we mentioned above, they attack stressed trees. 

However, if you do end up with an infestation, we conduct targeted chemical treatments, called systemics, to protect the trees and surrounding environment. This allows the tree to distribute the product through its vascular system into all of its plant parts. Treatments, as opposed to sprays, last longer and help avoid spraying products where non target insects could be harmed. 

Understanding the impact of insects on tree health is vital for Atlanta residents and tree care professionals. By recognizing the role of beneficial bugs in promoting healthy tree growth and identifying and managing harmful pests, we can ensure the long-term well-being of Atlanta’s urban forest. Regular monitoring, proper tree maintenance, and timely interventions are key to maintaining a thriving arboreal landscape in our city.

Contact us today to set up an appointment to assess your trees and help keep them healthy all year long!

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