Since it’s insect week, let’s take a few minutes to look at some of the diverse insects that have various effects on your plants and trees. There are so many in Colorado, and each plays a unique role in our ecosystem.
Insects are a type of invertebrate. With a hard outer shell for protection, an insect’s body is made up of three sections; the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. Most adult insects have three pairs of legs and two pairs of wings. But despite these commonalities, all insects are incredibly different with an array of purposes.
Despite the fear some of these creepy crawlies may bring us, these creatures have a significant purpose in our ecosystem. Many insects act as pollinators, helping spread pollen in our gardens and forests to create a diverse landscape that helps crops and other plants grow and thrive.
Pollinators are responsible for nearly 80% of what we eat! Not to mention the fact that these insects also act as food for other insects as well as animals who also assist in the perpetual circle of life. Below are some helpful pollinators that can help:
Bumble bees are especially important when it comes to pollinating wild flowering plants and agricultural crops. They are able to fly in cooler temperatures and lower light levels than many other bees, especially at higher elevations and latitudes, making them experts here in Denver. They love to show off their ability to perform “buzz pollination,” which involves them grasping a flower in their jaws and vibrating their wing muscles to remove the pollen. Foods like tomatoes, peppers, and cranberries all benefit from these amazing pollinators.
Moths and butterflies also act as amazing pollinators; supporting the health of a variety of ecosystems and agriculture. However, we’ve been seeing a terrible decline in the population of these insects in the past few years, as their natural habitats have been diminishing, particularly the monarch butterflies here in the Rocky Mountains. But don’t worry, here’s how you can help so we can keep seeing those butterfly’s beautiful orange wings fluttering through the fields.
Beetles are also amazing pollinators and come in the form of many different species. Fossils suggest that beetles were among the first pollinators of prehistoric plants in the Jurassic era. And even now, they provide sustenance to the gorgeous blooms we plant today. They are found in nearly every habitat around the world and act not only as pollinators but as predators toward other pests that can damage your yards and even forests. This helps keep ecosystems clean and ongoing, and to ensure we have enough of everything we need, like food, water, and trees to help us breathe fresh air.
While acting as part of the food chain, insects can be fantastic. However, they can also be very pesty and harmful to your trees and plants. Here are some you’ll want to look out for:
Emerald Ash Borers are an incredibly invasive species of beetles that can infect and kill all manner of Ash tree species here in North America. While in the larva state, EABs feed under the bark of the tree, leaving the tree prone to a host of other pests and inclement weather issues, much like if we stood outside for too long without the right kind of gear. And once attacked, the tree has about 2-4 years to receive treatment before it ends up withering away.
Meanwhile, the mountain pine beetle is also a common insect whose eggs are laid beneath tree bark. When the larvae hatch, they eat through the bark and begin to introduce a blue fungus into the sapwood that prevents the tree from protecting itself from other insects as well as absorbing water and nutrients from the soil.
Ips beetles are also known as pine engravers or bark beetles and feed on the phloem of trees. With 11 different types of Ips beetle species here in Colorado, these insects have been a huge issue here due to our climate being so dry and arid, as they love to get cozy in drought-stressed Pine or Spruce trees or even recently cut logs and wooden debris. They can kill a tree in a single season by “engraving” a pathway gallery under the bark, so timely treatment is absolutely critical if you want to save your trees.
While we’re all about saving the pollinators, we treat a host of insects. So don’t let the harmful insects eat away at your yard, we have a variety of insect control options available for the safety of your family and your yard.
If you’re concerned about the welfare of your trees and plants, don’t hesitate to give us a call for a free estimate. Our trained arborists and technicians have the experience and knowledge to find the right treatment plan for you. With spray options, injections, and fertilizers, we’ll find the perfect way to keep your yard safe from unwanted pests and insects.