Discovering and Exploring the Leaf-feeding Insects in Our Region

Pacific Northwest (PNW) Defoliators

What's a Defoliator? [de-fo-li-a-tor]


A "defoliator" is something that takes leaves (foliage) from plants, usually by eating the leaves as food.

Leaf-feeding is also called "defoliation". Many kinds of animals eat leaves as food, but insects are by far the most common defoliators of plants worldwide, and are the main subject of this website.

Insect defoliators are interesting and important in the Pacific Northwest for many reasons, including;

They are an essential food source for other wildlife. In spring, plant-eating caterpillars are the most important food for nesting birds.
More on birds ]   [ More on insects ]

Plant defoliation is most often temporary and largely cosmetic, but is one of the largest causes of pesticide usage in both urban and rural settings.

Most defoliation feeding occurs in the spring months, but the signs of leaf-eating will remain through the summer and fall. Pesticide treatments in response to visible defoliator feeding after the spring are often pointless.

In our region, we have a wide variety of insect defoliators that includes several exotic species recently introduced here that are not found in other parts of North America. [ More ]

Amazing but True . . . The kinds of insect defoliators in our region include; leaf rollers, folders, skeletonizers, miners, twisters, tiers, twirlers, crumplers, webbers, tent makers, case makers, gall makers, tip-tiers, and shot-hole makers.
[ Pictures and More ]

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