Insects that infest trees and bore into the wood have wreaked havoc with millions of acres of forested land across the United States over the past decade. The two main types of these boring insects are flat-headed wood borers and clearwing borers, both of which tunnel their way under tree bark and feed there, impairing the tree's ability to move sap and water. Over time, this damage causes a variety of problems, including girdling the trunk and weakening the structure, both of which eventually cause the tree to die.
Borers strike forests and suburban trees
Borer infestations are not limited to large forests. Homeowners with just one or a few trees on their property can also be susceptible to these destructive insects. While the infestation can occur organically by the natural spread of the insects from one tree to another in a general area, they can also be brought into the property through deliveries of firewood or when bringing in young trees and bushes to plant. To avoid this, homeowners should never purchase or bring in firewood or trees and bushes for planting that has been cut or grown in areas where boring insects are known to be a problem.
Signs of a borer infestation
Besides avoiding the possibility of bringing boring insects onto the property in firewood or infested trees and bushes, homeowners should also take time to learn to recognize the signs that their trees may be suffering a wood borer infestation. These can include:
- seeing the actual insects or their larva
- finding wood dust and substances that resemble fine shavings at the base of the tree
- seeing patches of bark that have buckled and come loose from the tree
- seeing signs of chewing and burrowing in the bark of the tree
- noticing patches of dead limbs in the crown of the tree
Frequent inspections to look for signs of a wood-boring insect infestation can help homeowners discover this activity in the early stages of infestation before major damage has occurred.
Using pruning and trimming to curb infestations
If the infestation is caught in the early stages, before the tree is damaged to the point of causing it to die, careful pruning and trimming may be helpful in curbing the infestation and saving the tree. Homeowners should understand, however, that complete removal of the tree may be needed to preserve the health of neighboring trees, should the infestation be a serious one.
To learn more about keeping backyard trees healthy and pest free, homeowners can contact a reputable tree care company in their area.