How To Get Rid Of Tree Beetles

If you’re wondering how to get rid of beetles in a tree, the answer is simple. You have to know what type of beetle you’re dealing with. There are some sure-fire ways to get rid of them, so you can make your beetle problem go away.

If you have a beetle infestation in your tree, they’re there to feed. Most beetles are herbivores, eating only plants. This includes roots, stems, leaves, seeds, nectar, fruits, or even the wood of the plant itself. 

So, let’s take a look at how to get rid of beetles in a tree before they do permanent damage.  

Japanese Beetles

The Japanese beetle, a most destructive garden pest, devours just about everything in its path, including well-tended trees and shrubs. And unfortunately, they’re prevalent in Michigan. It eats the tender tissues between the veins of the leaves of plants that it attacks and all that’s left of the leaves are the brown, skeletal remains. 

For a small infestation, you can handpick or knock beetles into a bucket of soapy water. If you have them, they will typically start showing up in late June or early July. But don’t wait. You’ll want to get on this project right away because the first beetles to arrive will send out pheromones that attract more beetles to your tree.

This is your best bet to get rid of them (getting to them early). That’s because the larger your infestation, the more trouble you’re going to have. And if you try Japanese beetle traps—watch out. You may end up attracting more beetles than your traps can kill. 

Stink Beetle

Also from Asia, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs is an invasive species that first arrived in Pennsylvania in 1996. It can now be found in much of the continental United States. Stink bugs earned their name from the defensive odor they release when disturbed or crushed.

Stink Bugs like to eat leaves (typically fruit tree leaves), flowers, and fruit. 

There are no natural predators for them, so they are thriving in the United States. If you see them on your tree, get rid of them because once the weather gets cooler, they’ll start looking for a warmer place to live — like inside your house. 

Boxelder Bugs

The boxelder bug is a North American species of true bug. It is found primarily on boxelder trees, as well as maple and ash trees. Boxelder bugs feed mainly on boxelder tree seeds and newly developing leaves, which may result in discoloration of the foliage.

To stop box elder bugs from multiplying, it is often helpful to remove their host trees from the area surrounding your home, but the adults can still fly to locations off of your property.

A vacuum cleaner is your first line of defense against boxelder bugs, but if you have large numbers it could attract other beetles to your tree to feed off of them.

Asian Lady Beetle

Often mistaken for Ladybugs, Asian lady beetles eat a variety of aphids that feed on trees and crops, especially soybeans. Although Ladybugs and Asian lady beetles look similar and belong to the same insect family, they don’t behave similarly. Ladybugs are highly beneficial, harmless insects. They don’t bite, they consume several harmful garden pests such as aphids, and they never congregate in large numbers.

Most importantly, when it gets cold out they seek shelter outdoors. Asian lady beetles hunt garden pests, too, but that’s where the similarities end. Asian lady beetles are considered a true pest. Unlike ladybugs, Asian lady beetles will gather in large groups, especially around warm, reflective surfaces like windows.

Asian lady beetles “bite” by scraping the skin they land on, and leave a yellow, foul-smelling liquid on surfaces where they gather. Worst of all, Asian lady beetles will attempt to enter your home when they look for overwintering shelters.

A vacuum cleaner is also your first line of defense to get rid of lady beetles. Vacuuming, pest-proofing your home, and properly timed exterior insecticide treatments can provide relief but will not prevent the entry of every single beetle. 

Safari Tree Beetle Treatments

There is no number of beetles that is too big for Safari Tree to control.  We take a holistic approach to pest control, to controlling Japanese beetle populations and all other harmful insects. And being proactive is a great way to stay ahead of any infestation.

We use a targeted strategy of preventative insecticides that starts in the first half of July. We’ll apply clothianidin, thiamethoxam or imidacloprid. They are neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides that are chemically similar to nicotine, which has been used as a pesticide since the late 1700s. If your plants are at particularly serious risk, we can also apply chlorantraniliprole between May and the beginning of July. 

These insecticide treatments prevent a Japanese or other beetle infestation from getting off the ground, protecting your plants from the earliest stages of damage.

With a staff of trained and licensed arborists in our office, the team at Safari Tree is ready to answer any of your tree care questions, contact Safari Tree today with your questions and let us solve your problems.