Native to southern Asia and the eastern United States, over 80 species of magnolia tree grow in yards and gardens across the globe. While the magnolia is more resilient to pests than other tree species, some insects and animals eat portions of the tree.
According to the United States National Arboretum, migrating songbirds eat magnolia seeds. A fleshy, high-fat aril protects each seed, providing birds with a vital energy source.
A scale insect referred to as the magnolia scale feeds on the sap of magnolia trunks and branches. These insects look like soft pink or brown bumps and leave a shiny mucus trail that can attract other insects or sooty mould.
The magnolia borer eats magnolia trees by boring into the living, woody tissues of the roots. Adults lay eggs on the tree, and the emerging larvae bore into the tree's roots. As the beetles mature, they continue to eat the roots until they turn into a soft, spongy mass.
Many insects target specific portions of the magnolia tree to eat. The tulip poplar weevil and leafminer eat the leaves of the magnolia tree, while greenhouse thrips and hoplia beetle eat only the buds and blossoms. Aphids and mealybugs feed on the sap hidden within branches and trunks.
- United States National Arboretum: Magnolia Questions and Answers
- University of Kentucky: Magnolia Scale
- University of Florida: Boring Insects
- Southern Group of State Foresters: Magnolia virginiana Sweetbay Magnolia
- Tree Help: Insects Controlled
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Thrips on Ornamental Plants