What Are Wasps Eating On My Japanese Maple Tree?

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When it comes to aesthetics, Japanese maples are among the most sought-after trees. However, wasps and other pests may pose a major issue for this ornamentation of your garden. Consequently, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most prevalent insects, like Wasps, that may harm Japanese Maple and the best strategies to manage them.

Are wasps attracted to Japanese maple trees?

What Are Wasps Eating On My Japanese Maple Tree

Yes, wasps are attracted to Japanese maple trees. The Japanese Maple provides a lot of food for wasps, including sap and insects. This makes them a popular target for wasps.

However, sap and insects are not the only reasons for wasps’ attraction to Japanese maple trees; the “honeydew” expelled by pests of maple trees (including aphids, some scales, etc.) also plays an essential role in attracting these buzzing critters.

What Are Wasps Eating On My Japanese Maple Tree?

wasps of maple trees

In late summer, you may often observe wasps swarming your Japanese maple tree in alarming numbers. These wasps are very aggressive, causing a lot of damage to the tree.

However, when it comes to what wasps are eating on the Japanese maple tree, well, the sap-sucking insects that produce honeydew are the real culprits!

These include aphids, scales, whiteflies, and mealybugs. While they may not be harmful to the trees themselves, these pests produce honeydew as they feed on plant sap. The wasps are attracted to the honeydew and will eat it as it falls from the leaves of the tree.

Lets us know more about these creatures’ enticing wasps to your Japanese maple tree in the following section.

Common pests that wasps are eating on your Japanese Maple Tree

Several common pests will consume Acer trees. And in order to comprehend the wasp, you must first grasp the Japanese Maple Tree pests that attract these insects:

Maple tree borer

A close up of a Wasp mimic Moth attracted to light at night in New England.

I will begin the list with a member of the wasps family because, despite the fact that they do not attract other members of their family to attack the Japanese maple tree, they are quite damaging in their own right!

The maple petiole borer is a non-stinging wasp that attacks all maple species, including the Japanese Maple Tree. These critters are also known as sawflies.

The adult wasps lay eggs on the underside of leaves, and the larvae bore into the petioles (the stalk attaching the leaf to the stem).

In fact, the larvae eat the sapwood under the bark, which disrupts the transportation of water and nutrients. This can cause leaves to fall to the ground with part of the stem still attached to the leaf.

Furthermore, the maple tree borer feeds on the leaves of maple trees. While it can cause some damage to the tree, it does not typically kill the tree; the majority of leaves are left untouched, and around 10% of them will be affected.


Scales are small, immobile insects that feed on sap by piercing and sucking the leaf, stem, or branch with their mouthparts. They can be found on a variety of trees and plants but are most commonly found on Japanese maple trees.

Moreover, the appearance of scales on a Japanese Maple tree can vary greatly depending on the scale’s age, sex, and species. In fact, the presence of variation can be easily observed, but the most common is the soft scales, such as Pulvinaria species.

In addition to causing direct damage to maple trees, these pests also serve as a source of food for wasps. In fact, there’s no denying the impact of honeydew generated by soft scales like Pulvinaria species.

Thereby, by producing honeydew and serving as food for larger wasps, these critters assist in drawing in wasps to your Japanese Maple tree.


Male (right) caresses a female prior to mating.  These tiny insects are host-specific, and are native to Peru, but are now found in southern coastal regions of California.

Psyllids are small, sap-sucking insects that are related to aphids. They can cause damage to a variety of plants, including Japanese maple trees. They typically feed on the underside of leaves, where they can cause leaves to be yellow and drop prematurely.

If there is a large infestation, the tree can die.

A psyllid infestation also causes leaves to seem glossy and wet with sap. Described as honeydew, the psyllids excrete this sap, which is made up of undigested carbohydrates. In fact, it is common for this product to drop onto other leaves, other plants, and the ground.

The honeydew subsequently attracts wasps, who eat it as a food source. Due to honeydew, the wasps become supplementary pests, attacking or damaging the Japanese Maple Tree in the majority of instances.

Aphids on Maple

You may have seen aphids on your maple trees and been curious about what wasps are eating.

Well, aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that suck sap from plants. They often congregate in large numbers, making them easy targets for predators such as wasps.

In fact, many species of wasps feed exclusively on aphids. In addition to the aphids themselves, wasps will also prey on the eggs and larvae of aphids.

Wasps are also attracted by the sticky substance honeydew, excreted by aphids on the maple trees.


Caterpillars leaf pests

Caterpillars can be a major problem for maple trees as they can strip the leaves from the Japanese maple tree. What’s more, the wasps are attracted to the Japanese Maple if caterpillars infest it.

The caterpillars eat the leaves of the and, in turn, are eaten by their natural enemies, such as wasps.

How to get rid of Wasps on On My Japanese Maple Tree?

Wasps do not directly injure maple trees; rather, they aid in the eradication of other pests, including aphids, scales, and caterpillars.

However, if you still want to eliminate them from your garden along with the invading pests, the following steps might be taken:

Eliminate the temptation:

The first step in keeping wasps away from your Japanese maple trees is to get rid of the pests that, in addition to hurting the tree, also attract wasps.

small dangerous insect wasp crawling through the autumn garden on a yellow maple leaf

Therefore, if you’re concerned about a Japanese maple pest infestation, you can proceed by adopting the measure listed below to control and prevent pest infestation on your Japanese Maple!

Prevention and control of Pests on Japanese Maple Trees

Prevention of bugs on maple tree

Use a hose

There are many ways to get rid of bugs on maple trees, but using a hose is one of the most efficient methods.

Moreover, as you know, wasps are especially attracted to these bugs and can cause significant harm to the tree; spraying down your Acer tree with a pressurized stream of water will rid many of the bugs, as well as the wasps.

All you need to do is spray your Acer tree twice a day- once in the morning and once again at night after the sun disappears. This will help drown the wasps and other insects, eventually getting rid of them.

Prune your Japanese Maple

If you have a Japanese Maple tree and are seeing an increase in wasps, there are a few things you can do. One is to prune your tree to remove any infested branches or leaves. You can also use pesticides or organic methods to get rid of the wasps.

DIY sprays

Although dish soap may not be the most natural way to deal with pests on your Acer trees, it is a safe and effective option.

You can begin by mixing one tablespoon of dish soap with 1 gallon of water in a spray bottle and use it as needed. Be sure to test the soapy water on a small area of your tree first to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage.

Besides that, there are a variety of different DIY pesticides that can also be used to get rid of pests on your Japanese Maple Tree. These include, but are not limited to, dish soap and water, neem oil, horticultural oils, insecticidal soaps, and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

It is important to read the label of any pesticide you use and follow all instructions carefully.

Vacuum bugs up

You can vacuum up the pests using a small shop vac or standing vacuum with a hose attachment.

Furthermore, if you have a powerful vacuum cleaner, you may be able to suck up the mealybugs or scale deposits on your Japanese maple tree. However, this should only be done as a last resort, as it could damage the tree’s bark.

Essential oils

Essential oils can be used to treat a variety of pests, including wasps. They are a natural and non-toxic way to treat bugs on maple trees.

You can use a DIY mixture such as neem oil and water or a combination of essential oils like lavender oil, citrus oil, clove oil, and peppermint oil. These oils work well to kill the bugs and can be sprayed directly onto the tree.

However, it is essential to mention here that though there are many benefits to using essential oils in your garden, it is important to use them correctly.

If you use too much oil, the tree can suffocate. The oil will block the pores on the leaves and keep the tree from being able to take in CO2. This will eventually kill the tree.

Therefore, when using essential oils, it is important to remember that they need to be diluted before use. Undiluted essential oils can lead to a problem for plants.

Companion planting

Companion planting is a technique that involves planting certain plants near your crops or garden in order to reduce the number of pests in the area.

This can be a helpful way to keep pests under control without using chemical pesticides. There are many different types of companion planting, and each one has its own benefits and drawbacks.

There are a few plants that are especially effective at repelling wasps, ants, scales, and mealybugs.

These include:

These plants are beneficial to Japanese maple trees because they deter bugs and pests from eating the leaves. Furthermore, they help protect the tree from bugs and pests while also providing added beauty to the landscape.

Note: Before planting any companion plants, it is important to check the hardiness zones and make sure they can grow in your yard.

Call a Professional

If nothing works and you find it difficult to eliminate the pests as well as the wasps, you can employ the help of a professional.

The specialist will provide professional results for those who need assistance getting rid of the pests invading your Japanese maple tree and, ultimately, the wasps, as well.


Hopefully, this guide was helpful in answering your doubts regarding What Are Wasps Eating On My Japanese Maple Tree!

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.