Insects and Diseases

Role in Forest Health

One aspect of forest health is the reduction of losses due to pest organisms, primarily insects and diseases. Many native and non-native insects and diseases can affect the native tree species in Virginia forests. Native insects and diseases can be an important part of the ecosystem, helping with nutrient recycling, acting as a food to source to other animals, and contributing to biodiversity. However, when these native pests reach high populations and outbreaks start, or when non-native pests enter our native ecosystems, trees can be negatively impacted.

Insects can be classified by how they damage the trees: wood borers bore into trees, defoliators eat leaves, and sapsuckers feed on the sap of trees. Diseases are also classified by parts of the tree they impact: root issues, foliage disorders, and wilts (which block the tissue that moves water and nutrients).

While many resources exist for identification and management descriptions, here are some resources the VDOF Forest Health Program recommends.

To learn more about common insects, diseases, and abiotic disturbances in your trees, visit the Tree and Forest Health Guide!

ImageTitleDescription
Tree and Forest Health Guide
Tree and Forest Health Guide

Book provides guidance about tree and forest health; conditions that are common or important enough in Virginia to gain frequent attention are covered. General guidelines are given for the diagnosis and treatment of biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) disturbances of forests and individual trees. Guide should not be used as a final reference, but rather a quick field guide and training tool.

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Tree and Forest Health Guide (2-page spread)
Tree and Forest Health Guide (2-page spread)

Book provides guidance about tree and forest health; conditions that are common or important enough in Virginia to gain frequent attention are covered. General guidelines are given for the diagnosis and treatment of biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) disturbances of forests and individual trees. Guide should not be used as a final reference, but rather a quick field guide and training tool.

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Common Insects and Diseases in Virginia


Additional Resources

ImageTitleIDDescriptionContent Typedocument-category_hfilterMedia_hfilter
Beech Leaf Disease
Beech Leaf DiseaseR9–PR–001–21

USDA Forest Service Pest Alert publication about beech leaf disease discusses identification and description, range, and management.

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Don't Move Firewood
Don’t Move FirewoodP00135

Brochure advises citizens to leave their firewood at home, explaining the danger of spreading tree-destroying insects and diseases. Printed copies available.

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Don't Move Firewood - Spanish - No Transport Lena
Don’t Move Firewood – Spanish – No Transport LenaP00136

Brochure advises citizens to leave their firewood at home, explaining the danger of spreading tree-destroying insects and diseases. Printed copies available.

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Don't Move Firewood Flyer
Don’t Move Firewood Flyer426-106

Flyer advises citizens to leave their firewood at home, explaining the danger of spreading tree-destroying insects and diseases. Printed copies available.

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Emerald Ash Borer in Virginia
Emerald Ash Borer in Virginia

Information about emerald ash borer in Virginia.

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Emerald Ash Borer Program
Emerald Ash Borer Program

Learn more about the ash treatment financial assistance program and to see the work that has been done so far.

Viewfinancial-assistance-forest-health financial-assistance-urban-and-community-forestry forest-health urban-and-community-forestrystorymap
Forest Health Review 2005-09
Forest Health Review 2005-09No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

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Forest Health Review 2006-04
Forest Health Review 2006-04No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

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Forest Health Review 2006-11
Forest Health Review 2006-11No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

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Forest Health Review 2007-05
Forest Health Review 2007-05No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2007-11
Forest Health Review 2007-11No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2008-05
Forest Health Review 2008-05No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2008-11
Forest Health Review 2008-11No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2009-05
Forest Health Review 2009-05No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2009-11
Forest Health Review 2009-11No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2010-05
Forest Health Review 2010-05No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2010-11
Forest Health Review 2010-11No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2011-05
Forest Health Review 2011-05No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2011-11
Forest Health Review 2011-11No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2012-07
Forest Health Review 2012-07No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

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Forest Health Review 2013-01
Forest Health Review 2013-01No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2014-02
Forest Health Review 2014-02No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

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Forest Health Review 2014-12
Forest Health Review 2014-12No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2016-02
Forest Health Review 2016-02No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

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Forest Health Review 2017-01
Forest Health Review 2017-01No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

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Forest Health Review 2018-01
Forest Health Review 2018-01No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

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Forest Health Review 2019-01
Forest Health Review 2019-01No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2020-01
Forest Health Review 2020-01No #

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanternfly, and more.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Forest Health Review 2021-01
Forest Health Review 2021-01

Report provides an update on current forest health issues, such as weather impact, pine bark beetles, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, brown periodical cicadas, spotted lanternfly, Asian longhorned beetle, fall cankerworm, and more.

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Forest Research Review 2008-10
Forest Research Review 2008-10

Research reports and updates from ongoing VDOF studies. In this issue: loblolly pine seed orchard management strategies, advances in pine plantation silviculture, longleaf pine grafting methods, competition control for shortleaf pine establishment, tip moth control methods for loblolly pine, tree-of-heaven control methods, and northern red oak planting.

Viewresearch-resource-information resource-informationpublication
Forest Research Review 2009-04
Forest Research Review 2009-04

Research reports and updates from ongoing VDOF studies. In this issue: potential for continued loblolly pine tree improvement, effects of thinning and fertilization in loblolly pine, American chestnut breeding program, longleaf pine provenance study, biosolids for fertilizing loblolly pine, interplanting loblolly pine, tip moth control methods for loblolly pine, and southern red oak crop tree release and fertilization.

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Forest Research Review 2010-03
Forest Research Review 2010-03

Research reports and updates from ongoing VDOF studies. In this issue: loblolly pine site index, stem sinuosity in loblolly pine, longleaf pine establishment methods, American chestnut, effects of competing hardwoods on loblolly pine, white pine competition control and storage time, tip moth control methods for loblolly pine, white oak crop tree release and fertilization.

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Gypsy Moth Management for Homeowners on Small Properties
Gypsy Moth Management for Homeowners on Small Properties

This factsheet details the life cycle and biology of the gypsy moth.

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Insecticide Options for Protecting Ash Trees from Emerald Ash Borer
Insecticide Options for Protecting Ash Trees from Emerald Ash Borer

Learn more about all treatment options available for ash trees with this multi-state emerald ash borer insecticide fact sheet.

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Laurel Wilt Disease
Laurel Wilt DiseaseFT0056

Forestry topic information sheet provides information about laurel wilt disease – a threat to all species in the Laurel family. Information includes the hosts, signs and symptoms, and how to manage the disease.

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Oak Decline in Virginia
Oak Decline in Virginia

This report provides an overview of oak decline and the factors that cause it.

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Red Imported Fire Ant
Red Imported Fire Ant

Information about the red imported fire ant (RIFA).

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Southern Pine Beetle
Southern Pine Beetle

Information about the southern pine beetle and the problems it can cause.

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Spotted Lanternfly in Virginia
Spotted Lanternfly in Virginia

Information on how to identify the spotted lanternfly or find additional resources are available on this Virginia Cooperative Extension website.

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Tree and Forest Health Guide
Tree and Forest Health GuideP00217

Book provides guidance about tree and forest health; conditions that are common or important enough in Virginia to gain frequent attention are covered. General guidelines are given for the diagnosis and treatment of biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) disturbances of forests and individual trees. Guide should not be used as a final reference, but rather a quick field guide and training tool.

Viewforest-healthpublication
Tree and Forest Health Guide (2-page spread)
Tree and Forest Health Guide (2-page spread)P00217

Book provides guidance about tree and forest health; conditions that are common or important enough in Virginia to gain frequent attention are covered. General guidelines are given for the diagnosis and treatment of biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) disturbances of forests and individual trees. Guide should not be used as a final reference, but rather a quick field guide and training tool.

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Virginia Cooperative Gypsy Moth Suppression Program
Virginia Cooperative Gypsy Moth Suppression Program

Publication provides information on the Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread Program.

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Walnut Thousand Cankers Disease Alert
Walnut Thousand Cankers Disease Alert

This Virginia Cooperative Extension factsheet will help detail thousand cankers disease {TCD} and what symptoms to be on the lookout for.

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