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Bugs You Need, Bugs You Don't - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Bugs You Need, Bugs You Don't

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Fargo city forester Scott Liudahl warns of the different types of insects appearing on tree's this time of year. There are some bugs you need to watch out for and some that you'll want to leave alone.

One of the best bugs you can have on your tree's is the common lady beetle. They eat and help control aphid or other bug populations that are common this time of year.

A pest to watch out for would be the emerald ash borer beetle. Their larvae can destroy trees and have been spotted to the east of the Red River Valley in the twin cities. The forestry department has placed traps to catch any that may arrive in our area, but has not seen any yet.

Foresters warn that if you see the emerald ash borer to call the city forestry department immediately so they can remove the insect and inspect surrounding trees.

Additional information From the Fargo Forestry Department:

Aphids are small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects that vary in color and are about the size of a pinhead.  They feed by sucking juices from the plant, and produce a sticky byproduct called honeydew while they are feeding.

They are common to this area, but have significantly increased in numbers this spring due to several environmental reasons. Aphids are rarely harmful for a healthy, mature tree however, residents should be aware of them.

Management recommendations and considerations:

  • On smaller to medium size trees, aphids can be somewhat dispersed from foliage by using a forced water spray delivered under high pressure, like a garden hose.
  • A number of horticultural oils, insecticidal soaps, and other products are available in the nursery trade and labeled for managing aphids.  Most come in the form of a spray or soil drench.  Spraying a tree may be challenging, especially when the aphid is protected inside the curled leaves.  Soil drenches may take several weeks to become effective.  If utilized, these products should be applied according to label directions, before peak activity occurs.
  • Lady beetles are frequent predators of aphids and should be protected when found feeding on aphid colonies. 
  • Consider supplementing the existing lady beetle population with more lady beetles or other beneficial insects.  Beneficial insects can be ordered from a few on-line websites, or check with a local nursery for availability.

As noted above, chemical products can be used to help control the aphid population, but they may kill desirable insect species as well, such as butterflies and lady beetles.  They are also rarely justified on large, healthy trees.

Overall, the majority of healthy, established, mature trees will be able to fend off aphids when they attack. Foliage might look a little thin in appearance, but the trees should recover. Supplemental watering, especially when summer conditions are hot and dry, will go a long way to helping your trees better withstand pests and remain healthy.

You can always call the Fargo forestry department with your questions at 701-241-1466 

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