ants are boring into our aspen

Asked August 13, 2018, 8:21 PM EDT

we've noticed that the leaves on one of our aspens are getting yellow spots and seem to be smaller in size than usual. we found ants in the trunk and on the tree.

Fremont County Wyoming

1 Response

Observing ants emerging from a hole in the trunk of a tree is not a good sign for a tree's long term health. It could indicate it has rotten center and the weakened wood is being excavated by a carpenter ant species as a nest. Another possibility is that the hole you have observed is where a poplar borer emerged from the tree and the ants are just investigating the hole and didn't cause the hole. Problems with a tree's trunk are very serious as compared to leaf damage. Ants on the leaves of aspen and poplars are usually an indication that there are poplar aphids on the underside of the leaves and the ants are feeding on the honeydew the aphids produce.
You can send me an email at insectid@uwyo.edu and then I can get more information from you to help diagnose the tree's problems.