What Gets in Your Trees & Leaves: Little Piles of Wood in Front of the Trunk

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    • Borer insects are larval moths and beetles that feed below the bark on trees and shrubs. Several species include roundheaded and cottonwood borers, which are longhorn beetle larvae; bronze birch borers, which attack birch trees; and clearwing borers, which are the larvae of clearwing moths. Clearwing borers attack stone fruits such as cherries and peaches.


    • Wood borer infestations are often identified by the small piles of sawdust and excrement that the insects leave at the bases of infected plants. Some wood borers devour cambium, which is the soft tissue between the bark and the wood. Severe infestations cut off the nutrient supply to the leaves and branches, causing tree death. Other borers burrow deep into a tree, weakening the wood and leaving it susceptible to heart rot or breakage.


    • You can kill borers that make openings on the outsides of trees by inserting a thin wire inside the holes. Infestations are also controlled through timed applications of insecticidal sprays.

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