If you have elm trees on your property, you may find yourself dealing with elm leaf beetles at some point. These small insects can cause a big problem, as they feed on the leaves of elm trees, skeletonizing them in the process. While a few beetles here and there may not seem like a big deal, a large infestation can seriously damage an elm tree, and even kill it. If you suspect that you have an infestation of elm leaf beetles, there are a few things you can do to get rid of them. First, remove any dead or dying leaves from your property and dispose of them in a sealed bag. This will help to reduce the population of beetles next season. You can also spray your trees with an insecticide designed to kill elm leaf beetles. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully, as over-spraying can harm the tree. With a little effort, you can keep your elm trees healthy and free of these pesky pests.

How to Get Rid of Elm Leaf Beetles

Effective elm leaf beetle treatment options to consider

Over the warmer months of the year, there are all sorts of pests and creepy crawlies that come out to play in your backyard. Aside from gobbling up some of your favorite veggies, there isn’t too much you have to worry about when it comes to pests. Some are just a nuisance. But some insect and bug species can cause serious damage to your backyard if left unchecked.

Pests like citrus gall wasps can cause serious damage to all the citrus trees in your backyard before spreading into neighboring backyards. There are many other invasive species that can cause damage to your trees. One species that’s been causing major issues with local backyards in Australia is elm leaf beetles. Ask your local arborist or tree care expert and they’ll tell you elm leaf beetles are one of the most common tree pests in Australia right now.

How to identify elm leaf beetles

Elm leaf beetles were originally native to Europe before they were introduced to countries like the United States and Australia. Today they are now a common pest for many elm tree species. So if you have an elm tree growing in your backyard it’s best to look out for signs of an elm leaf beetle infestation before it’s too late.

Identifying elm leaf beetles in your backyard can be easy when you know what signs to look for. When larvae (baby elm leaf beetles) start to hatch they begin feeding on leaves. They start off by chewing the underside of leaves. Usually, the only thing that’s left behind in the leaves is the veins. This gives the leaves a skeleton-like appearance. This is your first sign of an elm leaf infestation.

After young elm leaf beetles have gone through their initial feeding phase they go through a pupal phase. They remain dormant until they grow to full adult size. When they emerge as adults they move up the tree and leave circular holes in all the leaves. While leaf damage may not seem that costly, what it can do is jeopardize the health of the tree’s branches. Without healthy leaves attached, the branches of your tree become brittle, die off, and can even fall off.

Elm leaf beetles rarely cause enough damage to kill a tree but they should still be cause for concern. The damage they cause can leave your tree susceptible to other pests which can quickly take over and kill your tree in the process. So when you see the first signs of an elm leaf beetle infestation it’s time to act before more pests damage your tree further.

How to prevent elm leaf beetles from coming in the first place

When you first notice the presence of elm leaf beetles it’s important to assess the condition of your tree first. Your elm tree needs to be healthier in order to withstand the effects of pests like elm leaf beetles. There are steps you can take like eliminating drought stress. This involves making sure that your tree is watered during the dry seasons.

Another way to maximize tree health is to fertilize your elm tree in late winter. Doing this enables a slow release of nutrients. Eliminating dead tree limbs and suckers (new shoots) will help your tree to dedicate more of its energy towards growing a healthier trunk and branches throughout the year. So for an effective elm leaf beetle treatment don’t forget to look after the health of your trees throughout the year.

Effective treatments for elm leaf beetle

While it’s very difficult to completely eradicate elm beetles, there are effective methods for keeping them at bay and preventing further damage to your trees. The most effective treatments for elm leaf beetles usually involve chemical applications. Purpose-made chemical solutions can be injected into the trunk/stem of your tree or the soil at its roots of it.

Another chemical treatment that can be used to treat elm leaf beetles involves canopy spraying. This method is better utilized for smaller and younger trees during the end of winter and early spring. For treatments like these, it’s best to check in with your neighbor. It makes more sense to treat all trees that are within close proximity of each other. This approach can help to prevent elm leaf beetles from jumping from one chemically treated tree to infesting another.

There are also non-chemical treatments that some tree care specialists offer. One of these alternatives is called non-chemical control banding. This method works by trapping elm leaf beetle larvae that usually try and migrate down the tree trunk. Applying this banding will help to break the natural lifecycle of the elm beetle so they don’t continue to grow, breed, and invade your tree.

Call in the experts at Daryl’s tree care

One of the biggest challenges of eliminating elm leaf beetles is knowing what type of treatment to use. The type of tree you have, the time of year, and the surrounding environment can influence the decision you need to make. There are also the challenges of using elm leaf beetle treatments safely. Chemicals and equipment can be hazardous when not used correctly.

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