What are Borers and is Your Tree at Risk?

Insect borers can have damaging effects on your trees. Borers go through four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa and adult beetle. When the larva hatches, they burrow through timber and they can’t be easily seen. During the larva stage, borers are hungry and they chew and feed on the inner bark of the tree or wood of trees as their food source. Borers can feed on the tree for several years without being seen.

Common hosts of borers


Different insect borers prefer different species of trees or wood types. This can help you to identify the type of insect that is causing the problem and hire a tree service Toronto for assistance. There are insects that will burrow through soft woods such as pine and cedar whereas others prefer the hardwoods like mahogany, oak and eucalypt.

There are however certain landscape plants that are more vulnerable to borer attacks. They include pine, oak, plum, cherry, honey, elm, maple, mountain ash, dogwood, black locust, azalea, birch, ash and rhododendron. Severe borer infestation can result in the need for tree removal Toronto. Note that borers can attack almost any tree species. This is because there are different types of borers that prefer different tree species. Newly planted trees are particularly vulnerable to borer infestation. Trees that are not in proper health can also be attacked by borers.

Signs of wood borer infestation

If you suspect that your tree or wood is infested with borers, it’s important to call an arborist Toronto immediately. Among the signs you need to look out for include:

  • Exterior holes in timber of the inner bark of a tree. These holes may appear oval in shape with sharp edges. The holes appear very fresh and clean.
  • Sometimes you may notice tunnels in the wood though these can be hard to see.
  • Sawdust like material in tree trunks and branches
  • A sap or resin that comes out from small holes in the tree trunks
  • The bark of the tree may appear swollen and callused
  • The bark of the tree may also develop cracks which cause small areas to break off
  • You may also notice discolored or undersized leaves on the tree
  • The twigs and small branches of the tree may begin to die due to borer attack

Borer infestation – solution

One of the best ways to avoid borer infestation is making sure the tree is in a healthy condition. You can maintain the tree in a healthy state by frequent mulching, watering and fertilizing it as you should. You also need to take steps to control insects and diseases by performing different treatments such as fungicide applications as required. Doing this will help to ensure that your tree can tolerate different kinds of attack and avoid borer infestation.

If the tree has been severely attacked by borer, it’s usually not salvageable. However, some borer attack can be treated depending on the species, the severity of infestation as well as the health of the tree.

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