Wood Boring Insects: The Silent Killers

Wood Boring Insects: The Silent Killers

Wood-boring insects are a group of pests that spend part of their adult or larval life feeding and tunneling beneath the bark or into the heartwood of trees. While there are many different types of borers in our area, the kind that cause us the most strife are ambrosia beetles.

Ambrosia Beetles

Ambrosia beetles are tiny beetles that are typically attracted to stressed, dying, damaged, or otherwise compromised trees. During or after seasons of drought, excessive moisture, or other unusual weather events, borers can attack what seems like any tree in the landscape at random. The first generation of beetles emerge in the Spring around March and fly off to find a suitable host. Once a host tree is located, they emit pheromones that call in more and more beetles to the host.

How They Kill Trees

Ambrosia beetles get their name from the ambrosia fungus that they vector into the tree. As they burrow into the tree to excavate their galleries to lay their eggs, these fungal agents invade the tree. It is actually not the beetle itself that kills the tree, but the fermenting fungus that infiltrates the vascular tissue, killing the tree rapidly- sometimes seemingly overnight.

Have you ever seen a tree that seemed perfectly healthy one day and then the next day was dead and brown? If you check the base of the tree or look within cracks in the bark, you might notice a very fine, light-colored sawdust (almost resembling flour). If so, the tree is more than likely infested by ambrosia beetles.

The Silent Killers

Because trees take so long to show physical signs of stress, they may be targeted by borers long before the tree starts to show visible signs of decline. This makes wood borers the silent killers. Once a tree is infested and starts to show symptoms of borers, such as flagging or dying limbs, it is often too late to save the tree.

Preventative Treatments

Due to the rapid decline a tree experiences with a borer infestation, preventative treatments are necessary to help ward off these pests. Fortunately, most wood-boring insect species only bore within the lower 5-10 ft of the trunk, making trees much easier to treat and protect.

We suggest that all key or high-value trees consider getting on a preventative wood-boring insect protection program. Trees that have experienced stress, have pre-existing issues, or are more susceptive to borers (such as oak, maple, hickory, pine, cherry, etc.) should be considered.

Protect Your trees!

At Arborscapes, we proudly protect thousands of trees each year through our preventative borer programs. Contact us today to ensure your trees are protected!

By taking these preventative measures, you can help safeguard your trees from the devastating loss.