Wood boring insects have attacked my Maple Tree

sledge1924December 28, 2007

A large section of one of my maple trees has been consumed by a wood boring insect. When I broke apart the infested section I found the following insect deep inside 1/4-3/8 inch diameter black bore tunnels. There are also several 1/8 to 1/4 inch bore holes in the bark in the infested area as well. Because of this trees location it is trimmed often and I am sure stress from trimming opened the door to the insects. I also have a smaller maple nearby that has not been stressed by trimming that seems to be falling prey as well as 1/4 of its crown seems to have died.

Can anyone identify this insect or recommend a treatment to give the tree a chance of surviving? The infestation occurred in a major branch off of the main trunk and I am concerned that there may be borers in the main trunk as well. This tree is about 40 years old.

Links to Pictures:





Here is a link that might be useful: Insect Picture

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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

A password is needed to look at your pictures. Anyway, let's hope it's not asian longhorned beetle!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 12:47AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I get a password dialog when clicking on your link (Picture). Anyway, maybe try Pennsylvania Cooperative Extension. They should be able to tell you what it is and what to do about it. They should also be kept informed of local pest bug activity anyway, so that something new to the area may receive attention from them.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 12:50AM
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Pictures are now available.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 1:35AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you said its trimmed often due to its location ...

shall we presume it is a threat to you.. your house.. or your family????

if so ... one final pruning.. at or about ground level.. with malice and aforethought is recommended by me... be done with it ...

the bug.. i am no expert... but that is what i call a millipede or centipede ... in my world .. they live in rotting wood.. they are not the cause of the rotting wood ...


    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 8:15AM
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Something similar to a centipede. I wonder if your tree has holes drilled by a yellow bellied sapsucker. The holes then enable insects to become active and the woodpecker returns to find food. Are there rows of holes?

Here is a link that might be useful: sapsucker damage

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 8:24AM
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In response to Ken's message. Your tone seems more arrogant than helpful. The tree is located under power lines. Yes, I could remove it, however it was planted by my deceased father and I would like to keep it. Moving the power lines is not an option.

Carol, I have included another picture that showes that it was some kind of wood boring insect. It doesn't seem to be a woodpecker. I get the impression that maybe the millipede was not the initial occupant of the tree and perhaps some type of beetle bored into this tree and the other unpruned tree.


Here is a link that might be useful: Maple tree

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 10:28AM
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You tell me you have wood-boring insects in your tree.

My first recommendation is to remove the tree, or otherwise plan on replacing it in the near future.

My second recommendation is to call an arborist or go to your local extension agent, not the internet.

Of course your tree is "special" to you...they all are, and I deal with more of these a week than I care to admit.

That still doesn't change the fact that my first recommendation is to remove the tree. The more data you provide, the more this is reinforced.

My best advice is to call a local person to come evaluate it. Do not call around until you find someone who tells you what you want to hear, although I suspect you will.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 11:33AM
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I was hoping there would be some kind of insecticide to rid the tree of the insects.

It seems removal is the only real treatment. The more I look the more bore holes I find in the trunk. I will remove this tree and have someone look at the other tree with the declining crown. IÂm concerned that I may lose all of them.

Thanks again for your feedback.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 12:04PM
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I would try the county extension agent. They can review your findings and give advice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Penn State County Extension Agent

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 2:07PM
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Thanks again Carol,

I found a little black beetle in one of the bore holes. ItÂs only about a 1/4 inch long and has a tiny white spot on its back. I also found several white larvae as well.

I will contact the local extension with what I have found so far. Thanks for the advice.

Have a great New Year

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 3:01PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Sledge, I can tell that you are new around here. I'm not sure why you thought Ken's response was rude; it didn't seem that way to me. But, believe me, he certainly didn't mean to come across that way! Ken does have a unique way of posting, but he's not mean! He always tries to help and is frequently pretty humorous.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 4:44PM
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I have had several trees die in the last couple of years. Samples of the wood from the dead/dying tree was taken to the local extension office for examination. The agent was able to extract several borers from the wood using tweezers. The borers were placed in a solution and sent to the lab. The lab report came by with the type of borer and the likely cause of why the tree died. The borer did not kill the tree, rather they moved in when the tree was in decline. The borers apparently detect the moisture content of the wood and move in when it is less than a certain percentage. I realize there are certain borers such as the emerald ash borer and ambrosia bettles that can attack and kill an otherwise healthy tree. There are certain specific diseases that can also kill trees and I would suspect the borers would take adavantage of this type of decline/death and invade the tree. I suspect what killed my trees was a combination of drought and a real warm winter early on last year followed by a real cold late winter.

I would have someone from the extension service evaluate the tree, either on site or by you taking samples under their direction to them for further analysis. I would hesitate to pay a commercial firm unless you have absolutely no faith in the extension service and state lab. There are very few tree people with their own lab who can do an analysis, in fact the only one that comes to mind is Bartlett.

Please let us know what you find out as we can all learn from this. I have a friend that planted an oak tree in 1973 that she pulled up from her father's house. It died this year. It was a beautiful straight red oak. I looked at it and saw many borer holes in the trunk, but I doubt that is what killed it. When she has it taken down, I plan on being there to take samples to see if I can find out what caused it to die. It may be too late to get the type of samples that a lab would need as all the green tissue has been long gone, but I will give it a try.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 8:45PM
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Try to save any insects you find in a sealed bag or container. If it is an exotic insect like Asian Longhorned Beetle, the proper authorities need to know so they can try to prevent them from spreading. If your trees produce any seed you might could plant those, that way you would have new seedlings after the parent tree is gone.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 9:33PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If these trees have been topped repeatedly for years that may have been the original cause of problems, resulting decline paving the way for bugs and fungi. Maples are also prone to fungal or bacterial dieback problems even without being wounded frequently and forced to re-sprout (stored nutrients are used to grow new tops, diminishing the energy levels in the tree).

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 10:56PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

I still can't see the picture. Oh well!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 12:43AM
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I seem to have a similar infestation as that which you described in your original posting on this GardenWeb site back in December. My front yard has a single large 36"+ diam. red oak right smack in the middle of it and it is the centerpiece of the yard, not to mention that it's also, by far, the largest tree in my entire yard. The symptoms I am noticing sound very much like the ones you were describing, and they are slowly spreading.

Did you get that beetle looked at that you found? ..or did you find any treatment, rather than felling, for the problem? I have several messages with pictures submitted to arborists, the forestry service, and the ISA. While I am awaiting responses, I have been looking over symptomologies on numerous sites and am fairly convinced that I have Ambrosia Beetles.. possibly Asian. Chances are that the beetle you found in your maple is different than the ones that bore oaks, but according to many of the pro's, they, like most beetles, may be treatable with chlorpyrifos.

Incidently, after reading that entire forum, I feel compelled to mention that, without regard to others' defensive remarks in this little group, a couple of the responses that you were given (namely heptacodium and ken) were nothing less than downright rude, sarcastic and callous. You were only trying to save your tree... and if you werent able to do so, then the advice of trying to save seed (by alabamatreehugger) was the only thoughtful response in the bunch.

Hope to hear from you! :)


    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 6:09PM
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