Tree Boring Insects: What You Need to Know



Landscape trees burst to life in the spring, sprouting flowers in almost every color and young, tender leaves that soon expand to create puddles of shade on the lawn. But what does it mean when it’s mid summer and your trees look like it’s still early spring? You might have a problem with tree boring insects.


What are Tree Boring Insects?

Tree borers are a group of insects that lay their eggs on or inside of trees, where the young larvae eat their way through the wood of the trees. There are many types of tree boring insects, but the results are always the same. Tree borer insects cause affected parts of trees to slowly weaken as their chewing severs vital transport tissues. Over time, they may girdle trees or weaken branches making them a hazard of breaking off and damaging property.

The most obvious signs of tree borer insects are the tiny holes they cut into trunks, branches and stems. These holes may be perfectly round or slightly oblong, sometimes a sawdust-like material, called frass, falls on branches below these holes or forms a long cylinder as tree borer insects excavate tunnels.


What Happens When You Have An Infestation

Treatment for tree borers can be difficult if an infestation has already occurred. Prevention is key if your trees are unaffected, but tree borer insects are active nearby. Removing and replacing an infected tree is often the best way to prevent the problem from spreading to more trees in your yard.

For trees that are not infested, or have only a few noticeable holes, protection from borers make come by improving care. It may seem too easy, but borers are attracted to trees that are stressed and injured; pruning wounds, which are a common entry point for the first generation of invading borers, may keep new borers from entering.

In addition to pruning and removal of infected trees, adding mulch around your existing trees and providing them with supplemental water and fertilizer will help to fight off borers and heal from previous damage.