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Mar
18
2015

The Gall of Those Wasps!

You may not get the pun of the title until you read this entry and I blame Adam for the (bad) influence. Don't hate me.

At any rate, being a homeowner provides constant challenges. From the house itself to the things in it to the yard, there is always something. This morning, Adam and I stepped outside in a new effort to take standing breaks every hour and he noticed little nodules all over the young oak tree in our front yard. We looked online for an answer to see if it was a disease or something else harmful.

What we learned is that they are called galls and are caused mainly by wasps laying eggs on leaves and branches. The wasps apparently inject some hormone into the plant causing it to grow over the eggs for protection. 

They're all over our tree and they mainly seem to be from last year because they are all empty or broken open and dried out. 

From what I read, although they are not pretty, they are mostly not harmful unless they become a huge infestation. (You should search oak tree galls and look at some of the images of them when they become a problem!)

Here's a picture of what one of ours looks like. It's in the center of the photo.

They can cause leaves and twigs to drop off earlier than they normally would in the season, but shouldn't kill the tree if they are sparse.

However, we obviously want to take care of the plants in our yard, so I read about ways to prevent or get rid of them. The main things seem to be removing them and disposing of the larvae in the trash (because just dropping them onto the ground may continue to provide habitat). And boy, are the wasps active around our house right now, so I'm not surprised.

The two other things you can do are to put a bird feeder in the tree since birds are natural predators and you can also spray a specific insecticide. 

We're going to start with trimming off the galls and hanging a feeder this weekend to see if that helps.

You learn something new every day! And after all, it's us against the bugs in the end. Lol.

The Gall of Those Wasps!
Copyright 2004-2018 Elizabeth Shiver