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Walnut caterpillar

Division of Forestry
Insect Threats

Praying MantisThe is a list of some of the more significant insect threats to Kentucky's forests:

Aphids are soft-bodied insects that use their piercing sucking mouthparts to feed on plant sap.  Saliva injected into plants by aphids may cause leaves to pucker or to become severely distorted.

Bagworms are caterpillars that make distinctive spindle-shaped bags on a variety of trees and shrubs in Kentucky. They attack both deciduous trees and evergreens, but are especially damaging to juniper, arborvitae, spruce, pine and cedar.

Borers can cause serious aesthetic, economic and structural problems for trees and shrubs. Their tunneling damages wood, creates "hazard" trees and lowers the wood's value for lumber and veneer.

Dogwood Borer is primarily a pest of flowering dogwoods that are older and especially those that have been wounded by mowers or line trimmers.

Emerald Ash Borer infests all types of native ash trees, which often results in the death of the tree within two to four years.  To view a map of Kentucky infestations,click here. To view the 2016 EAB Treament Guide, click here.

Eastern Tent Caterpillar commonly attacks cherry, fruit trees and several other species by building tents in the crotches of tree branches and eating the leaves in early spring.

Forest Tent Caterpillar commonly attacks cherry, maple and flowering trees. They do not form tents but congregate in mass on the trunk and larger branches during midsummer.

Gypsy Moth commonly attacks and eats the leaves of many major hardwood species, including oak, sweetgum and more than 300 other species of trees and shrubs.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid attacks and kills eastern hemlocks of all ages, sizes and conditions. Infested hemlocks have the presence of white, cottony masses on the underside of hemlock needles.

Pine Sawfly prefers to feed on the needles of pine. Heavy defoliation can result in the death of the tree.