Tree Pests You Should Watch Out for in North Carolina

Our licensed arborists at Frady Tree Care are always on the watch for tree pests, like invasive insects, soil fungus, and mites.

We form the first line of defense for many business owners and residents of North Carolina against invasive pests that could take down woodlands thousands of square meters at a time, like the wood borer, emerald ash borer, and the southern pine beetle. If you want to improve your tree resistance levels against these destructive agents, visit our offices or give us a call today and experience the best tree service in Lexington by Frady Tree Care.

In this explainer, our forestry experts will detail how insect pests work and how to detect an infestation before it does irreparable damage to your trees.

The Two Most Dominant Tree Pests in North Carolina

According to metrics from a recent land survey by the North Carolina Forest Council, forest lands cover about 18.3 million acres of local land in North Carolina, amounting to roughly 57% of the footprint of the entire state. Thousands of undocumented species of tree pests may be hiding in these forests, but our arborists encounter the six most prevalent types on their service calls.

Tree Borers

Tree borers feed on the rigid tree tissue that constructs the branches, trunks, and bark. They sap the nutrients and water inside the tree’s vascular system, killing it over a few months or a year.

Most borer insects infest trees with damaged immune systems and barks from flooding, previous injuries, droughts, and unstrategic planting. Our arborists list four subcategories of borers in their decades of servicing North Carolinian trees.

Ambrosia Beetles

Ambrosia beetles are a subfamily of weevils that excavate tunnels within unhealthy trees, filling them with ambrosia fungi. Infestations usually start with sand-like sawdust accumulating on the ground around stressed trees. Ambrosia beetles create perfectly round tunnels, and fungi stems protrude from the bark resembling bent toothpicks.

Emerald Ash Borers

The emerald ash borer or EAB invades ash, lilac, and olive trees in deciduous forests and urban settings. According to the USDA, this invasive species is on track to eliminate a sizeable part of the 8.7 billion ash trees in the USA.

Southern Pine Beetles

Southern pine beetles remain one of the most prevalent tree pests in the state. Most infected trees show nodules of solidified sap along their branches and thousands of tiny holes on their trunks. Southern pine beetles only infest pine trees, killing them in two to four months.

Leaf Eaters

Leaf Eaters consume a tree’s primary source of food and energy, causing them to look defoliated and ragged.


Caterpillars are the most common leaf-eating pest in North Carolina. Most caterpillar species feed in the early springtime, chowing down thousands of pounds of leaves over six to eight weeks.

  • Spring and fall cankerworms consume leaves from a broad range of trees but usually prefer willow oaks.
  • Fall webworms create massive silk structures as they feed on sourwood trees.
  • Eastern tent caterpillars return to the same rosaceous trees they attack every year.

Japanese beetles feed on fruit, flowers, and foliage of over 200 tree and plant species, the most common of which include linden, crape myrtle, roses, and crab apple. They consume leaf veins, leaving tree crowns and shrubs with a skeleton-like appearance.

Elm beetles are one of the leading causes of defoliation in America. They feed on the leaves of Chinese, American, and English elms, leaving irregular holes on leaves that weaken urban trees.

Call an Expert and Eliminate Tree Pests Today

If you want to eliminate tree pests and know the difference between coniferous vs. deciduous trees in the process, call the Frady Tree Care hotline today at 704-644-2516 and schedule a free consultation.


Frady Tree Care has the most reliable and professional tree services in the Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Kernersville, Clemmons & High Point, NC areas! Our team is a third-generation certified and fully-insured arboriculture firm. With more than 100 years of combined experience, we are the tree service experts you can trust.


Charlotte Office

8640 Charlotte University City Blvd.  Suite A3-241        Charlotte, NC 28213
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Lexington Office

402 W. 4th Avenue,    Lexington, NC 27292
Phone : (336) 236-1006

Salisbury Office

1460 Henderson Grove Church Rd,
Salisbury, NC 28147
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Winston-Salem Office

1035 Shalimar Drive.      Winston-Salem, NC 27107
Phone : (336) 236-1006

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