How To Get Rid Of Oak Worms Naturally

Oak trees are a symbol of majesty, but what happens when oak worms infest them? Here is how to get rid of oak worms naturally to preserve your oak tree’s beauty and the shade they provide.

Keep reading to learn more about the types of worms that live on oak trees, what they turn into, why they might be present, whether they’re harmful, and how to get rid of them naturally.


How To Get Rid Of Oak Worms Naturally
Oak Worms


Types of Worms That Infest Oak Trees: Identification

Oak trees are often home to various types of worms, which can be identified based on their characteristics and behaviors. Here are some common types of worms that live on oak trees:

  • Oak Worms 
How To Get Rid Of Oak Worms Naturally
Oak Worm

These caterpillars are the larvae of moths like the Io moth and the saddled prominent moth. They are usually green or brown with distinctive markings, such as stripes or spots, and they feed on oak leaves, occasionally causing defoliation without significant damage to the tree.

  • Oak Leafrollers
How To Get Rid Of Oak Worms Naturally
Oak Tree Leafroller

The larvae of moths in the Tortricidae family, these caterpillars feed on oak leaves by rolling them up and consuming them inside the rolled leaves. They have cylindrical bodies and roll leaves as their distinguishing trait.

  • Gall Wasps
How To Get Rid Of Oak Worms Naturally
Oak Gall

These tiny wasps lay eggs on oak trees, creating odd growths called galls on leaves or twigs. The larvae grow inside these galls.

  • Oak Bark Beetles
How To Get Rid Of Oak Worms Naturally
Bark Beetle tree damage

Small, cylindrical beetles that bore into oak bark, feeding on inner bark and sapwood. Their activity can weaken trees, making them more susceptible to disease and other pests. Oak bark beetles are recognized by their small size and boring behavior.

  • Oak Root Borers
How To Get Rid Of Oak Worms Naturally
Oaktree root borer

Larvae of beetles in the Cerambycidae family, these borers feed on oak roots, weakening the tree and increasing its vulnerability to pests and diseases. They have elongated bodies and feed on roots.


What Do Oak Tree Worms Turn Into?

Oaktree worms, like oak worms, oak leafrollers, gall wasps, oak bark beetles, and oak root borers, change as they grow into adults.

Oak worms become moths, oak leafrollers turn into moths too, and gall wasps lay eggs that hatch into larvae inside the tree, creating galls.

These larvae grow inside the galls and become adult wasps. Oak bark beetles’ larvae become adult beetles, and oak root borers’ larvae become adult beetles that lay eggs to start the cycle again.


Read also: A Fascinating Guide for the World of Worm Nerds


Why Are There Worms in My Oak Tree?

There are a few reasons why worms might be in your oak tree.

First, worms like oak worms, oak leafrollers, and gall wasps are natural parts of the environment, doing important jobs

. Second, oak trees provide a home and food for many worms. Caterpillars, for example, eat oak leaves.

Some worms, like oak bark beetles and oak root borers, need oak trees to complete their life cycles.

They lay eggs on or in the tree, and their babies eat the tree’s tissues.

Also, things like warm weather or certain moisture levels can make worm populations grow on oak trees.

Lastly, lots of worms on an oak tree might mean there’s a pest infestation that needs to be addressed immediately.


Are Oakworms Bad for Oak Trees?

Oakworms, despite their name, are not harmful to oak trees in the long run.

They might eat oak leaves, causing defoliation, but this will not cause significant harm to healthy, mature oak trees.

Oaks can grow new leaves, especially if the defoliation happens early in the growing season.

However, in some cases, like when oak trees are already stressed or are already experiencing other pest issues, oakworms can add to the problem.

In these cases, it might be a good idea to control oak worm numbers to avoid too much defoliation.

Even though oakworms may cause temporary damage, they’re not considered a major threat to oak tree health.


Read also: How To Stop Pecan Tree Sap


How to Get Rid of Oak Worms Naturally in Your Oak Tree

Using Natural methods to get rid of oak worms in your oak tree can help maintain the health of your tree and the surrounding ecosystem without resorting to harmful chemicals. Here are some natural way you can try:

  • Handpicking: Check your oak tree regularly and manually remove any oak worms you find. This method works best if it is a small infestations.
  • Beneficial Insects: Encourage the presence of natural predators of oak worms, like birds, parasitic wasps, and predatory beetles, by giving them a good habitat and food sources around your oak tree.
  • Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt): It is a natural bacteria that specifically targets and kills caterpillars, including oak worms. It will not harm humans, pets, and beneficial insects but should be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Neem Oil: Mix neem oil with water as directed and spray it on the affected parts of the oak tree. Neem oil is a natural insecticide that can help control oak worms.
  • Horticultural Oil: Mix horticultural oil with water as directed and spray it on the tree. This can suffocate oak worm eggs and larvae.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth around the base of the oak tree. This natural substance dehydrates oak worms and helps control their population.
  • Trimming: Remove and dispose of heavily infested branches to reduce the oak worm population.
  • Healthy Tree Care Practices: Keep your oak tree healthy with proper watering, fertilization, and pruning. Healthy trees are more resistant to pests and diseases, including oak worms.

Keep in mind that these natural methods may take time to work and might not eliminate oak worm populations. For severe infestations, you may need to use a combination of methods or seek advice from a professional arborist or pest control expert.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are Oak Mites Harmful?

A. Yes, oak mites can be harmful because their bites can lead to skin irritation, itching, and redness. While they aren’t usually dangerous, their bites can be uncomfortable and might cause allergic reactions in some people.

Q. What Is a Parasitic Plant That Grows on Trees?

A. A parasitic plant that grows on trees is called mistletoe. Mistletoe attaches itself to the branches or trunks of trees and derives nutrients and water from the host tree.



Oak trees can be vulnerable to infestations by different types of worms like oakworms and caterpillars.

Although these worms typically don’t cause significant harm to the tree’s health, a severe infestation can weaken it and make it more prone to other issues.

If you’re facing an oak tree worm infestation, consider using natural methods to manage them, such as picking them off by hand, using neem oils, and ensuring the tree is healthy overall.


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