How to get rid of borers in trees

How to Get Rid of Tree Borers and Prevent Infestation

Also known as tree borers, wood borers feed on and make habitats from trees and other woody plants. They belong to a variety of insect groups, including beetles, wasps, and moths, and are often the larva of these species.

Wood-boring insects fall into two categories — primary and secondary invaders

Most tree borers act as secondary invaders, meaning they attack weakened, dying, or dead trees. 

Primary invaders target healthy plants, which can lead to them weakening, or dying. With a proactive approach to handling wood-boring insect infestation, you can defend your trees from both kinds of pests.

  • See How to Prevent Tree Borer Infestations

Common Types of Tree Boring Insects

The types of borer that could infest your trees depend on your region in the United States. Wood-boring insect species also attack different varieties of trees and bushes, so your plants may be more prone to certain borers than others. Some of the most common types of wood borers include:

  • Flat-headed wood borers: Also called jewel beetles or metallic wood-boring beetles. This large family of beetles attack stressed or recently transplanted trees.
    As adults, these borers have unique metallic colors and a boat-like shape, with larvae having a similar flat appearance.
    Because of this body shape, the larvae create oval or flattened holes when they dig into wood. The tunnels that these insects create can girdle tree trunks and branches, putting trees at severe risk. 
  • Round-headed borers (longhorn beetle): In their adult form, round-headed borers are longhorned beetles that can have antennae longer than their bodies. The larvae of round-headed borers have a round shape that leaves behind a round or oval tunnel. A tree afflicted with a round-headed borer infestation will often have signs of dust-like frass (excrement) or sap on the trunk and branches. Most of the insects in the round-headed borer category act as secondary invaders.
  • Weevils: In contrast to borers that create galleries or tunnels in wood, weevil larvae dig hollowed-out cavities or cells underneath bark. Many weevil species target the roots and bases of woody ornamental plants.
  • Wood-boring moth caterpillars: Also known as clearwing borers because of their adult form as clearwing moths, wood-boring caterpillars hatch in tree bark after an adult lays eggs there. They immediately burrow into the bark after hatching to feed on the wood. Once the larvae tunnel into the wood, insecticide sprays won't affect them. Clearwing moths can sense the chemicals released by stressed or damaged trees and seek them out as egg-laying sites.

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Effects of Borer Damage to Trees

Borer-related tree damage has a few distinct signs, and it can become deadly for already-weakened trees. Since the boring occurs inside of the tree, many infestations go unnoticed until external signs of damage appear. If you notice any symptoms of tree borer infestation, act as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

To assess possible damage, keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Tunnel holes: One of the telltale signs of a tree borer infestation is the holes created from borer tunneling. Depending on the species of borer, these tunnels may have round, semicircular, or oval shapes. Borer holes tend to appear in a random pattern on the bark, contrasting with the neat rows created by a woodpecker.
  • Frass: You can tell borer holes apart from woodpecker holes by looking for frass, the excrement that borers create as they feed on wood. Frass looks like sawdust, and you can find it inside the holes or just outside of them.
  • Dead limbs or cracked bark: Wood borers tunnel in the cambium, the inner layer of tree bark that transports water and nutrients. As pests erode the cambium, the areas of the tree above the damage receive fewer nutrients. This lack of nutrition can cause the bark to crack or the connected tree limbs to die and fall off.
  • Oozing sap (gummosis): A stone fruit tree will have gummosis, sap oozing from its wounds, during a borer infestation. If borers dig into sap-producing parts of the wood, the sap flows out of the tunnel. You may also see frass in the oozing sap.


Tree Borer Treatment and Management

If your tree has a wood borer infestation, you can use one of two methods to kill the tree borers:

  • Chemical: Depending on the type of borer infesting your tree, you can use contact insecticide and soil treatment to kill active borers and prevent future infestations. Every state has its own standards on pesticide use, so make sure you can legally use a pesticide before applying it to your trees.
  • Mechanical: Outside of using pesticides, your possible management strategies involve removing the larvae from the tree with a tool or getting rid of infested wood. If you have a severe infestation, you may need to clear the entire tree to eliminate the risk of falling branches.

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Preventing Tree Borer Infestations

The best way to handle a wood borer infestation is to stop it before it begins. Consider these methods of preventing tree borers from attacking:

  • Proper tree care: Since borers target weakened or stressed trees, you can lower the risk of infestation with correct watering and fertilization techniques. Remember to pay careful attention to newly transplanted trees with a higher risk of stress.
  • Choosing the right tree species: When planting new trees, select species that wood borers in your area don't often attack. Research the less susceptible trees in your region and focus on them instead of more vulnerable varieties.
  • Preventing and caring for tree injury: External damage from equipment like mowers can leave a tree open to borer infestation. If you accidentally damage a tree, take care of the wound using pruning or wound paint as soon as possible.


Wood Borer Control Solutions from Diamond Mowers

When you can only get rid of tree borers by removing the infected tree, we suggest using one of our
American-made skid-steer or excavator attachments. 

We offer a wide range of attachments for clearing trees and brush, mulching, and grinding stumps so you leave no food behind for borers. 

To learn more about our products and how to use them for invasive species management , visit a Diamond dealer near you or contact our attachment experts.

Topics: Skid-Steers & Attachments, Application: Forestry, Excavators & Attachments, Invasive Bugs/Insects

How to treat and Prevent Borer Beetles

February 11, 2020 Denise Piaschyk February 13th, 2020

Here at our 60 acre family farm we take great pride in offering the healthiest and highest quality of trees found in the Metroplex. With that highly regarded reputation comes constant inspections for various pests and issues. To ensure that you keep your trees in the same high quality health as when planted, we are going to share more educational blogs this year to help everyone learn about what pests and issues to look for. Today we are going to be talking all about borers so you can all learn how to prevent, identify, and treat if needed.

In this blog we will specifically be discussing the following important topics:

  • What are borers?
  • Stages of a borer.
  • Learn about the different types of borers.
  • How to monitor and inspect your trees for borers.
  • How to prevent borers from attacking your trees.
  • How to treat your tree if it gets borers.
What are Borers?

Borer beetles are part of the Anobiidae (order Coleoptera) family. These adult pests are known for burrowing into trees and laying eggs inside the trees. These adult borers find sites for laying eggs by responding to chemicals and signals from stressed trees. Once the larva hatches then they feed on the inside of the tree and create tunnels. This causes additional stress to an already declining tree and can lead to a quicker death if not treated quickly. The tunnel can cut off portions of the vascular system of the tree and deprive it from sending nutrients up the tree.

Life Cycle of a Borer

Timing of life stages throughout the year will differ depending on the species of borer, your location and environmental conditions, but all borers go through complete metamorphosis with four life stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult.

  • Eggs – Laid when adults are mating on or near the host plant. Common egg-laying sites are on or under bark, in leaf litter/detritus on the ground, and in cracks of tree trunks or branches.
  • Larvae – Once hatched they bore into the host plant using digestive enzymes and begin feeding. Feeding will increase progressively as they grow.
  • Pupae – Some borers pupate in or on the host plant; others drop to the soil and pupate there. No damage is done during this stage.
  • Adults – Emerging from the pupae, adults mate and seek out optimal sites for eggs to be laid.
Learn About the some Common Types of Borers in North Texas

Clearwing and flatheaded borers are the main types that attack woody ornamentals. The groups differ somewhat in their habits and host preferences, which can affect the approach for controlling them with insecticides. The key to controlling these pests are to keep plants healthy and, if necessary, to treat during the Spring and Summer when borers are vulnerable to insecticides.

Iberia haldemoni, a longhorned borer beetle. Photographed by Lauren Miller.parelaphidion aspersum, a longhorned borer beetle. Photographed by Lauren Miller.
How to Monitor and Inspect Your Trees for Borers

Borer beetles are most easily identified by the round, oval or D shaped holes that they burrow in the tree trunks. Also keep an eye out for large holes that are leaking sap like the below pictures. You might also see sawdust like material on the ground or in the cracks of the bark.

Some people do misidentify borer holes for woodpecker holes. Just know that woodpeckers also carve a series of holes together, while the borers burrow just one hole in an area. If you have several borer beetles then you could see several holes randomly placed around your tree trunk, but never in a row like the woodpeckers holes.

Borer beetles attacking a sick tree.Borer beetles attacking a sick tree.
How to Prevent Borers From Attacking Your Trees

Borers prefer trees in stress or decline, and truly the best way to control these pests is by keeping your trees and shrubs healthy. Planting trees properly and not wounding the trees while planting or mowing around them is also important. But should your tree get borers, then not all is lost and you can try treating it.

How to Treat Your Tree if it Gets Borers

If the borer beetles have already burrowed inside the tree then insecticide sprays will not be effective. Products must be applied during the Spring or Summer while the larvae or eating on the tree so the chemicals are actually ingested. Systemic insecticides (azadirachtin, emamectinbenzoate, imidaclprid) applied with a trunk injection works well along with bark sprays and soil drenches (dinetofuran and imidacloprid). Our favorite product to recommend for flatheaded borers is Bayer Advanced 12 Month Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed. It is a soil drench and the active ingredient is imidacloprid. You will need to treat your trees a couple times, and please make sure to always read and follow label directions for safe use of any pesticides. If you feel overwhelmed with applying these treatments yourself then you can always hire a local arborist to help you.

I really hope that you have found this blog helpful. We will continue sharing about some of the pests in North Texas so all of our customers and followers can feel more prepared and informed for any pest that comes their way.


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Moths in the country: how to get rid of, how to fight

Moths in the country - a common phenomenon. They eat fruit trees and crops, which is why it is so important to take measures in time and learn how to deal with them.

Each type of butterfly is special, which means that you need to deal with them in different ways.


  • Moths that eat gardens
  • Moths that damage the garden
  • Invasion of the meadow moth
  • How to deal with moths in the country

Moths eating gardens

Gardens are often found in suburban areas. Apple trees, pears, apricots, grapes grown by oneself have a special taste and are very different from those sold in supermarkets.

Fruit trees are finicky to care for, and moths love to feast on them.

And although butterflies do not only harm plants, they also pollinate flowers, but you should not lose your vigilance.

There are many types of butterflies that eat fruit trees:

  • American white butterfly (loves to eat leaves of apple, plum, quince, mulberry). It has a snow-white color, active eating of tree leaves occurs by caterpillars. Also, the pest weaves a nest from the web. It is very sticky and prevents the leaves from developing normally;
  • hawthorn - eats pear leaves, plums, apple trees, almonds, lingonberries, still feeds on buds and buds. This is one of the largest butterflies, is a relative of the well-known cabbage. The invasion of the hawthorn happens when the summer is not dry;
  • leaf twirl - inconspicuous, first feeds on buds, then leaves of apple, pear, plum. Causes irreparable damage to fruit trees;
  • grape leafworm - eats grapevine (berries and leaves). Distinctive features are yellow terry wings. Egg laying occurs in June;
  • corrosive woodworm - eats the wood of fruit trees. The color is white with many black dots. An individual of decent size - the wingspan can reach up to 7 cm. The pest develops for 24-36 months, causes irreparable harm to trees;
  • goldentail - feeds on leaves of apple, pear, cherry, as well as leaves of forest trees. The nests laid by the golden tail are on the reverse side of the leaves and are orange in color. The pest is very voracious, eats the leaves of one tree, then moves to the next one. The moth is poisonous and can cause allergic reactions in humans. Therefore, it is better not to touch it with bare hands;
  • ringed silkworm - an individual not picky in food, eats the leaves of almost all types of fruit trees. The butterfly is large, yellow-brown. Both the moth and the caterpillar can be of decent size. It is easy to determine the type of pest by the leaves it has eaten. The butterfly eats the leaf, leaving only the veins;
  • plum codling moth is the main plum pest. It can also eat leaves of peach, apricot, cherry plum. Very dangerous for orchards, as two clutches are carried out during the summer;
  • codling moth - moths feed on apples, pears, apricots. Many observed the caterpillars of this pest in the fruits of the apple tree. When they invade, over 90% of the crop suffers. The codling moth is active during the daytime. The moth lays in fruits and under leaves.
American white butterfly, a species of butterfly that eats fruit trees

All of the above butterflies are strong pests of fruit trees.

Moths that harm the garden

There are also a lot of people who like to settle in the garden beds. Almost all species are capable of completely destroying the crop.

Varieties of butterflies that feed on garden fruits:

  • exclamation owl - prefers to eat cabbage, potato leaves, as well as corn and onion leaves. It also feeds on root crops (beets, carrots). The female pest is easily recognizable by its dark brown wings, their wingspan can reach almost 5 cm. The moths lay their eggs both on weeds and on the ground near the crop;
  • cabbage - eats cabbage leaves, turnips, horseradish. In addition to giving, this pest can also be found in the garden, in the meadow, in the park. But more often it lives in suburban areas, as the main source of nutrition for young individuals grows here - cabbage. The hot summer contributes to even greater reproduction of the cabbage. However, they do not like severe drought;
  • cabbage moth is another cabbage lover on farmland. The caterpillar initially lives on weeds, then moves to a head of cabbage and eats its kidneys. This prevents the normal formation of a head of cabbage, which leads to damage to the crop even at the initial stage of growth;
  • cabbage scoop - eats potato, cabbage leaves, can also eat tomato and beet leaves. Holes in the leaves and traces of excrement testify to the presence of the cabbage scoop. This is an insidious pest that is active at night, but during the day it is difficult to notice. Still larvae of cabbage scoops remain to winter in the soil;
  • onion moth - eats leeks, garlic, onions. Although the smell of onions and garlic is poorly tolerated by many pests, but not the onion moth. Caterpillars live and feed inside the fetus. Outwardly, it is rarely possible to determine the defeat of onions or garlic by moths, because only the inner part is damaged;
  • moth - a butterfly that eats the leaves of legumes. Sometimes it can eat gourds. This moth is very dangerous for the crop, since during mass reproduction it can also eat other fruits of the garden;
  • winter scoop - eats various vegetable crops. Pest activity begins in May. Finding caterpillars of the winter cutworm is difficult.
Cabbage scoop

Moths that feed on the fruits of the suburban area can cause serious damage to the crop.

Meadow moth invasion

Almost no dacha is complete without a harvest of potatoes and cabbage. These are the main agricultural crops. It is these plants in the garden that suffer primarily from the meadow moth, which not so long ago literally attacked the Irkutsk region.

This voracious pest eats everything in its path, even grass. Butterfly invasion occurs every 12 years. It is extremely difficult to get rid of the caterpillars of the meadow moth, because only a strong poison affects it. But after such a poison, the crop is unlikely to be suitable for food.

How to deal with moths in the country

Today, the question of how to get rid of moths in the country is very relevant. There are several methods:

  • agrotechnical;
  • mechanical;
  • chemical;
  • biological.

Agrotechnical includes digging along the perimeter of the summer cottage, regular inspection of the crop for pests, and if found, destruction. For fruit trees, whitewashing will not be superfluous. A whitewash solution can repel pests.

Mechanical methods include weed removal and deep tillage after harvest. So it will be possible to get rid of the caterpillars that hide in the soil of the garden to overwinter.

Chemical and biological methods are the use of insecticides. They can be contact, when the moth caterpillar dies only when touched, intestinal and systemic.

Enteric insecticides attack the pest when the fruit or leaves are eaten. Systemic ones are able to act on caterpillars in different ways.

Farmers note the good effectiveness of biological preparations for combating moths in the country. These are drugs based on bacteria that can destroy caterpillars. The most common are Bitoxibacillin, Lepidocid.

When applying insecticides, don't forget about the rainy seasons. In this case, more frequent processing of the crop should be carried out.

The main thing is to protect your own garden and not harm others. Chemicals should not be sprayed near bodies of water, be mindful of animals as well.

Folk methods will also help you learn how to deal with moths in the country. Pretty good results have tinctures of tobacco and pharmacy chamomile. An equally common folk method of struggle is the treatment of plants with tincture of the common yarrow.

Moths in the dacha are not just a nuisance, but also a real pest that can destroy the farmer's work. Therefore, today methods of combating this pest are so in demand.

Meadow moth - effective control measures

Meadow moth (Loxostege sticticalis) is one of the most dangerous pests among polyphagous insects. The insect damages about 200 plant species, of which 30 are agricultural crops. As a rule, at first the pest caterpillars destroy weeds, then they move to cultivated plants. In this article we will tell you how to get rid of the meadow moth and what means are effective in this fight. What the gardener needs to do to protect the crop.

1. Description of the pest
2. Conditions for development
3. How to get rid of the meadow moth

Invasion of the meadow moth destroys crops

surpassing the voracity of the locust.


Of the horticultural crops, sea buckthorn suffers more than others from the meadow moth. The apple tree, raspberries, strawberries, and blackcurrants are significantly damaged.

Description of the meadow moth: development conditions, dispersal

Adult insects are able to make active flights over a distance of up to 25 km in search of flowering vegetation, which they need for additional nutrition before laying eggs. Passive settlement with the help of strong air currents is possible at a distance of up to 1000 km. Active settlement of the pest also occurs due to the migration of caterpillars, which roll down head over heels in the presence of even slight slopes, and also quickly move along a flat soil surface.

Meadow moth butterfly and caterpillar

Meadow moth butterfly small, up to 10–12 mm, greyish brown with spots. In a calm position, the butterfly sits, folding the edges like a roof. Caterpillars are greenish-gray, up to 35 mm long, with a dark stripe along the back and intermittent stripes on the sides.
Photo: This is what a meadow moth looks like. The insect is easily recognizable by the spots on the wings

Life cycle

The pest caterpillars overwinter in weedy areas, inside earthen cocoons located in the upper soil layer. Butterfly years begin at a temperature of 17 °C. They are most active at dusk and at night. Butterflies feed on the nectar of flowers on various plants, then lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves in groups of up to 600 pieces, placing them in a tiled pattern. To lay eggs, butterflies first choose weeds with succulent leaves: quinoa, amaranth, field bindweed, wormwood.
Photo: Pest larvae

Hatching caterpillars first gnaw holes in the leaves, skeletonize them and wrap them with cobwebs. At an older age, they live openly, completely eating leaf blades and leaving only petioles. Sometimes they eat the stems of young plants, they can damage the fruits. Having finished feeding, the caterpillars go into the soil to pupate.
Photo: Damaged leaves

Conditions for insect development

  • Optimal conditions for the development of the pest are formed at a temperature of 25 °C and a relative humidity of more than 60-70%.
  • At temperatures below 16 °C butterflies stop laying eggs.
  • At temperatures above 35 °C and relative humidity less than 40%, butterflies become sterile. The survival of the meadow moth depends on the presence of liquid moisture. Even in abnormally dry years, an insignificant part of the pest population reproduces on weeds growing in lowlands or near water sources.

The most favorite fodder plant for the pest is quinoa, on which it accumulates and multiplies even under the most unfavorable conditions of existence. Try to run your palm along the underside of the leaves of this plant and you will feel cool and moist even on the hottest day.

This is due to the fact that on the reverse side of the quinoa leaves there are multiple small capsules filled with liquid. The capsules gradually burst and release the liquid, creating a kind of microclimate, primarily for the plants themselves. This feature of plants to survive in the most severe drought is also used by the meadow moth.
Photo: Quinoa - a weed on which it is comfortable to develop a pest

Protection measures and control of the meadow moth in the country

When a meadow moth appears in garden plots, it is very important to defend against it with the whole world. Timely and comprehensive pest control in the country, organized by all gardeners, will not only help protect the crop of the current year, but also significantly reduce the number of the pest next year.

What to do to get rid of the pest