The Spruce Budworm: Destroyer Of Evergreens

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The Spruce Budworm: Destroyer Of Evergreens

5 August 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Evergreen trees are a beautiful way to add a little natural style to your yard, but they are prone to infestation by insects and vermin that can kill them in less than a season. One of the most destructive of these creatures is the spruce budworm. Learn all you can about this disgusting creature to avoid letting it ruin your trees.


The spruce budworm is an insect that is relatively harmless in its adult state, but which is responsible for massive defoliation of white spruce across the country. The larvae of these creatures attack the needles and shoots of the spruce and eat them to help spur on their natural life cycle.

The adult is a brown moth-type creature, while the larvae are small, white worms that are very hard to see due to their small size and their tendency to bore directly into the surface of needles and shoots.

Damage Caused

When the larvae of the spruce budworm burrow into the needles, they start to feed. After the budworms reach a certain size, they bust out of the needle and sever it. Then they cast a web in which they capture other severed needles that they can eat. This has the impact of slowly defoliating an entire tree, which in turn can lead to its slow death: trees infested with the spruce budworm usually die one year after initial defoliation.

Environmental Impact

Unchecked spruce budworm infestations have been known to completely devastate a local environment. For example, a study of an infestation in British Columbia was found to cover 3.2 million hectares in 2013, a jump from 2.2 of the year before. That's roughly the size of Belgium. Even worse, experts estimate that 90% of the trees infested with the spruce budworm in that area are likely to die.

Range of Infestation

The spruce budworm is often broken up into two different species: the eastern and western budworm. They are basically the same creature and are both heavily destructive in various parts of the northern United States and Canada.

For example, the western spruce budworm is present in:

  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Colorado
  • Utah
  • Wyoming
  • Montana
  • Idaho

Control Methods

Eliminating spruce budworms for your trees requires patience and a variety of control techniques. A combination of the following control methods should kill off many of your tree's invaders:

  • Adding their natural predators, such as spiders, to your trees
  • Removing dying trees
  • Promoting stronger tree health by managing watering and fertilizing schedules
  • Spraying chemical, botanical, and organic pesticides on your trees

Now that you have an insight into the spruce budworm, use that information to get it out of your yard and your trees forever. If you don't think you can handle it on your own, call a tree services expert, such as Tidd Tree, as soon as possible.