I always thought walking sticks (insects) were beneficial, but in our yard walking sticks are eating all the leaves off our sumac bushes and trees. What should we do?

March 08, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

All the members of the walking stick order (Phasmatodea) are plant feeders, and they can occasionally cause damage to urban landscape plants. Many times walking sticks only become common late in the season, before leaf fall. At this time of year, defoliation rarely causes any damage to the health of the plant. Damage that occurs to woody plants in the spring or summer may warrant some sort of control measure like hand picking, or an insecticide application. Although walking sticks are not listed as target pests on most insecticide labels, a broad spectrum insecticide, like permethrin, should control walking sticks.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.