A Proactive Approach to Harmful Spring Insects

The weather can be a roller coaster this time of year, but the rain and slightly warmer temperatures means your Handy Andy Outdoors team is starting our proactive insect inspections.  If we do find the types of harmful bugs that may emerge this time of year, clients with our Tree and Shrub Care Program can rest assured that we will treat as-needed to prevent further damage.

If you see our team members inspecting your trees and plants, we’re looking for harmful insects commonly found in Georgia such as:

Lace bugs, which get their name from the lace-like covering over their partially transparent body. The ever-popular azalea is amongst the type of plants most susceptible to lace bugs.  Lace bug damage usually appears as white or yellow spots on top of leaves (due to a lack of chlorophyll), and black spots underneath the leaves.  Proactively controlling the first generation of these bugs in the Spring (between March and May) will significantly reduce problems later in the season.   

Tent caterpillars, which are commonly seen in early spring, are usually identified by the webs or “tents” they make where two small limbs meet within a tree.  The tent protects the insect larvae at night and during wet weather. Tent caterpillars have been known to rapidly defoliate the trees that host the tents.

Scale insects, which vary dramatically in appearance and may appear as bumps on certain woody ornamentals and trees.  Most scale insects are parasites, and feed on the plant’s sap.  Damaged plants may have yellow leaves, appear withered and in some cases have a sticky sap or a black fungus on the leaves and stems.

How should harmful Spring insects be controlled?

Handy Andy Outdoors is an industry leader in certifications and continuing education, and our team uses the most effective and least invasive methods available to control harmful insects.  In some cases, this may simply involve identifying the first generation of insects before they have a chance to multiply, and washing the insects and larvae off the host plant with a strong stream of water.  Rapid infestations may warrant plant pruning and/or spot treatment with insecticide applications.  But you can rest assured that any insect prevention method employed by a Handy Andy Outdoors team member has been backed-up by research and proven to be effective. 

Credit: Scale damage photo