Black Bugs On An Oak Tree (And How To Get Rid Of Them)

The perfect symbol of resilience, strength, and captivity, an Oak tree is the most loved tree around the world.

An Oaktree, due to its strength and beauty, is considered a storehouse of sagacity and insight. An essential factor for its popularity all over the world is its long life. An Oak tree lives for more than three hundred years on average. Destroying its beauty and depleting its strength, black bugs can often severely damage an Oak tree.

Though Oak trees are well known for their robust defense system against infestations and environmental conditions, bugs can eat them up to death.

Also, bugs can become a nuisance when they come in contact with the human body. Their bites can be extremely painful and itchy. A wide variety of bugs is found around the world, most of which are black.

If you are also tired of these little black bugs and want to get rid of them, then stay tuned.

What Are Black Bugs?

Black bugs are small insects that can either fly or crawl. They are usually black or brown, or when observed closely, one might observe them mottled. Bugs live inside the tree and feed upon its leaves.

These can be extremely dangerous for the health of your tree. These tiny little bugs can deplete plant sap and lead to stunted growth in plants. Most of the time, they also contribute to the browning of leaves and whitehead formation. They suck the life out of the leaves, leaving those fresh green leaves reduced to nothing but a brown, old, lifeless piece of a tree, hanging from a branch.

Black bugs are so small that they cannot easily be spotted unless one has very sharp eyesight.

Some useful hacks can come in handy when trying to track black bugs.

Types Of Black Bugs Attacking Your Oaktree

There are numerous types of bugs that can be feeding on your Oaktree. The most destructive of them all are black bugs.

Some common types of black bugs are mentioned as follows:

Oakleaf Mites

Oakleaf mites usually live in Oak trees and are very tiny parasites. It’s almost impossible to spot them without the use of a magnifying glass. They reside within the Gall larvae on Oak leaves. The female mites inject their venom into the gall and immobilize the larvae. These mites live off the larvae until the progeny emerges.

A female mite can produce around more than 200,000 Oakleaf mites in less than a week. This type of mite is easy to deal with as they either fall off the tree or are blown away by the wind.

While they pose a serious threat to an Oaktree, they are no less of a threat to humans. When they depart the Oak leaves’ galls to find themselves food, they can become a headache.

Their bites can be itchy, painful, and sometimes stingy too.

To save the pain, use a mosquito repellent over your body generously before you work out an Oaktree.

Caterpillar Pests

Caterpillars have various types. Some of which are the scarlet Oak worm caterpillar, tent caterpillar, and yellow-necked caterpillar.

These insects most commonly infest the leaves of the Oaktree.

  • Oak worm caterpillar: A newly born caterpillar has a tiny green or brown colored body. It gradually turns black as it starts to develop. Oak worms devour upon recently grown leaves in Spring. By summer, they thoroughly finish off the foliage.

To enjoy a healthy summer, Oak worms must be stopped at an early age.

If their presence comes to your notice behindhand, your best go is to use a bio-pesticide to stop their production.

  • Tent caterpillar: A pest with a reddish-brown color, a small head, and hair all over it can easily be recognized as a tent caterpillar. They start feeding upon the Oak leaves early in Spring and weave silky webs.

To get rid of them, clear out their webs in winter or use a tree band to cease their production in early spring days.

  • Yellow-necked caterpillar: As the name suggests, these pests are yellow with curved black stripes on their backs. They appear between early fall and late summer. They munch off one area at a time, so you can easily recognize them by looking at the dull, lifeless branches.

For small trees, you can get rid of them by simply shaking the tree and giving it a couple of jerks.

For heavy infestation or larger trees, use a bio-pesticide.


Borers are small insects that lay eggs inside the larvae of a tree. They grow on the underside of the tree bark and damage the tree to the extent of killing it. These pests mostly appear in summer and Spring.

If you’re trying to find borers, look for woodpeckers around as they have a specific association with them. Unlike other conventional bugs, Borers feed on tree bark.

Trees that are unhealthy are much more susceptible to Borers’ attacks. Thus, the easiest way to save an Oaktree from Borers is to keep it well-nourished. A well-watered, pruned, and a well-fed tree is less likely to be attacked.

To get rid of such attacks, spray insecticide over the tree once in Spring and once in mid-summer.

Oak Leafrollers:

Commonly known as leafrollers, inchworms, and Oak Leftiers, these bugs feed on the Oak tree leaves and flowers. Ranging from half an inch to one inch in size, they possess a dark greenish body and a blackhead. While leafrollers don’t cause severe harm to Oak trees, if ignored for long periods, they can cause substantial damage.

You can treat these by cutting off the infected leaves. Make sure to cut off all leaves and monitor them weekly. In the case of leafrollers, the chances of reoccurrence are always higher. However, if they attack in a massive proportion, one might have to seek pesticides.

Except for the types mentioned above, many other insects can attack your Oaktree and lead it to its death. This very bothersome caterpillar has the potential to cause some serious and harmful problems if not controlled.

Fortunately, there is currently less reason for concern for North Americans, but being ready is essential.

How To Get Rid Of Black Bugs?

Different bugs require different control techniques. Some are easy, while others might require you to go a little out of the way.

Below are some common ways to get rid of bugs:

Beneficial Insects

Don’t make haste while using pesticides, insecticides, and other chemical-based bug treatments. Some garden-friendly insects such as lacewings, ladybugs, parasitic wasps, etc. ingest bugs massively.

Before you go for toxic treatments, allow these volunteers to do their job.


Many bugs are capable of devouring leaves down to their veins. To control such attacks, use specific bio-pesticides. To achieve a healthy Oaktree, spray pesticides well in time when these critters are active and immature. The best time to get your hands on a pesticide can be during late Spring to Mid-Summers.

Bugs creep out of their habitats during this season, so you must alert yourself and prepare well for potential bug attacks.

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The use of insecticides at the right time can prevent the germination of bugs from the larvae and save the tree bark. Using stem injections can serve the cause. You can use these injections around the tree, in the root collar, or in the tree trunk.

Insecticides applied to the trunks at this time can kill adults that are crawling on the bark and very young borers that hatch from eggs laid on the surface. By doing this, you can avoid potential damage from the insect’s next generation.

These insecticides should be able to kill wood borers for a number of weeks because they have a reasonable amount of persistence when applied to bark. You can control wood borers using these three insecticides: bifenthrin, permethrin, and carbaryl, which are applied as bark sprays. Or the soil can be drenched with the insecticide sufficiently.

You can managed some types of wood borers using imidacloprid when applied as a soil drench over the roots of a tree or shrub and watered into the soil. The plant will need a few weeks, on average, to absorb imidacloprid. Thus, you should ideally spray before or just after the start of the insect’s egg-laying season.

Spraying once in Spring and once in the Mid-Summer can keep most of the insects, particularly borers at bay. If you found some of the trunks completely depleted or eaten hollow, cut them off to prevent further damage.

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Destroy Webs In Time

Some bugs can weave a web over Oaktree leaves. They then not only reside there but feed upon the leaves. Check your Oaktree regularly for such webs and show zero tolerance for any found. You can easily destroy silky webs by tent caterpillars with a little effort. However, leafroller webs, if grown, might want you to cut off the infested leaves.

Regular Monitoring

Monitoring your dear plants for any bugs or pests regularly helps early detection of any imminent problem. A lesser population of bugs is always easier to eradicate. Do check out for bug-damage symptoms in your Oaktree regularly.


When it comes to Oak mites, you can’t easily steer clear of them. If you think that they will die when you spray insecticide, you are wrong. Oak mites live inside the galls, and a spray just cannot reach their residence. Therefore, the only way to protect yourself from Oak mites is by being vigilance.


As small as they might be, black bugs can be severely harmful. Not only do they feed on your dear trees, but can endanger your life as well. However, black bugs are not very common and are you can only found in Asia.

The best measure against all this is constant vigilance and caution. It is the only thing that can save you from greater damage. Keep a regular check as to what is happening in your garden.

Take action immediately if you notice anything unusual or out of order. 

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