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  • Borers/Beetles?

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ID:	15555 Anyone every dealt with these guys? I have 30 trees in ground at a friends house and 5 of them show
    evidence of these things.
    newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA

  • #2
    I have them this year as well Mike. Ambrosia beetles. Lots of posting on them last year. Here is one from this year pointing back to last year.http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox....-borer-7358977

    First year I have had them and would like to hear results of folks that had them last year. I have them on figs, Pomegranates, and a live Mulberry. Not so sure I want to cut back the live mulberry but from reading it's sounds like they introduce a fungus that will kill the plant. I am going to prune back and burn to kill the eggs/larva but think they are probably to well established around to impact much. I just hope they limit themselves to weakened and dead wood. I think I am limiting my pruning to dead wood I know one person local to us that regretted pruning their Pomegranates all the way back.
    Phil North Georgia Zone 7 Looking for: All of them, and on and on,

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    • #3
      This is not a Borer as we define them.

      You might be able to save the tree buy cutting off at ground level and letting it re-sprout. You must clean up ALL debris and burn it. What you are seeing is evidence of Ambrosia beetle or Shot hole beetle and they have several other names. All of them burrow into the trunk forming galleries in which they mate (males are mostly flightless and live in the chambers formed) eat and live. They carry in a fungus that grows and the blocks up the xylem(?) preventing the flow of nutrients, chemicals and other items into and from the top. The tree will die. There are no known cures. Systemics will not work as they are deeper in the tree and do not eat the cambium layer except to pass through. What you are seeing is the newest threat to all of our trees. Years ago it was thought that they only attacked a certain variety of trees and then it was thought they only attack injured or sickly trees. Now it is known they will attack healthy trees. I am very sorry about this. I lost a twenty year old grapefruit tree last year. A friend of mine in Greensburg lost seven trees. He did save a few by cutting them off and letting them re-sprout.

      I think everything I wrote is correct

      BUT

      One thing is certain they will kill the tree.
      Darkman AKA Charles in Pensacola South of I-10 zone 8b/9a

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      • Needaclone
        Needaclone commented
        Editing a comment
        The only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain!
        I have a certain tree that has multiple locations on the trunk that were affected by shothole borers, their larva, and (probably) the fungus they spread. I discovered these problems late winter or early spring last year. I was expecting the worst, but I did not cut the tree to the ground. Part of the reason was that one of the affected areas was at the base of the tree. I intended to take cuttings, but did not get around to it. Long story short -- the tree "took off" last year and put out significant new growth from the main trunk above and below the affected areas. The affected areas appear to not have spread since last year -- i.e. they have remained localized.
        I'm not saying that this tree won't eventually die, and I still think it is in my best interests to get some air layers going while the getting is good. However, if this tree is dying, it id dying in slow motion!
        Jim

    • #4
      http://www.amerinursery.com/growing/...t-the-beetles/
      Phil North Georgia Zone 7 Looking for: All of them, and on and on,

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      • #5
        I wonder what would happen if you took a needle thinner than the hole and injected 10% bleach. It should kill the fungus without harming the tree if you can get it in where the fungus lives. A 27 gauge, 1 1/4 inch needle is widely available and might do the trick. Of course if it doesn't work you risk producing the next generation.
        Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

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        • #6
          People have tried many thing including injections in the hole. The problem comes in that for every fras trail you see there are probably a minimum of ten there that you do not see. The odds are just not in your favor. There are are stages of the beetle including the egg, larva, and adult that I know of. I do not know if any one thing will kill every stage. Then of course the real killer is the fungus which grows inside the wood where you cannot treat it. As I understand it it is living and feeding on the wood that has no activity so you can only treat it topically (even from inside the burrow) which won't kill it. That is why I talked of cutting it off at ground level. Obviously if there is beetle activity there that will not work but normally they are a little bit higher on the tree. At least you might save the root system and even if you have to graft you will have the huge benefit of a large expansive root system to push the top growth. My friend in Greensburg ahs successfully done this.
          Darkman AKA Charles in Pensacola South of I-10 zone 8b/9a

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          • #7
            I am not at all refuting what Darkman has said. However, I did want to add an observation.
            I happened to catch a bunch (15-20) beetles "in the act" last spring. They had just begun to bore into the tree. Some of them still had their beetle butts sticking out in the air, while others were out of sight but it was obvious they had not been going at it too long. I used a needle to poke (kill) the beetles I saw. I poked the needle into the holes to hopefully kill any beetles I could reach. (Note -- the beetles bore straight into the tree at first, then they make a right angle turn and begin to make their galleries and chambers.) I cleaned the frass (sawdust sticks) out of the holes as best as I could and then sprayed permethrin into the holes to kill any that I may have missed by poking. My hope was that they had not been in there long enough for any fungus to get established. That tree survived, the year, fruited, survived winter dormancy, and has begun to leaf out and put on some breba. (It was wintered-over in my basement, which is not really cool enough for my liking, so the tree has waken up early.) I don't see any signs that the fungus has taken hold or that any beetles survived to make larva.

            I believe I was lucky with this, because I happened to be on the lookout for them last year. This is because I discovered the signs of them on one tree, researched them, and knew what to look for.

            Just a heads up -- I first started seeing them in early April this year up here in Central NJ. I have one beetle trap set up to monitor them. I'm only seeing a few every couple of days right now.
            Jim -- Central NJ, Zone 6b

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            • #8
              The article that Strudledog posted is really a very good summary. I just wanted to add a few important observations:
              1) The beetles really do not limit themselves to only ~3feet of the main trunk. At least on my trees (all potted), the beetles were attracted to all parts of the tree, including the branches.
              2) There are other sources that claim the beetles are only interested in larger caliper trunks/branches. NOT TRUE! I have seen beetles trying to bore into branches as thin as 1/8" and 1/16"
              Spraying DOES WORK to deter them. (I used a pyrethroid-type insecticide.) But definitely DO spray the whole tree. I think that some of the information written may be geared toward nurseries or orchards that may be tolerant of a certain amount of loss and can't afford to spend the time and money to treat every little branch. But most of us aren't in that category, so don't risk cutting corners.
              3) The article says that spraying to target the first generation is sufficient. Again, I think this may be true for large operations. Do repeat sprayings. As I'm taking my trees out of storage, I have seen the occasional very small branch, one that was probably early new growth last year that eventually died, that had borers. I have also seen them in a few 2014 cuttings -- in the part of the cutting above the top node that eventually dies off.
              Jim -- Central NJ, Zone 6b

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              • newnandawg
                newnandawg commented
                Editing a comment
                Jim, would you say that you have rid yourself of these insects, at least temporarily? Did you
                ever spray and if so what did you use?

            • #9
              In my tree they were all over. Remember this was a grapefruit tree with a twelve inch butt. The article was geared to nursery protection where you have a small diameter trunk. They can easily spray what we would call a seedling. Just a straight small diameter trunk. Any branches would just be twigs. Figs used to be a very carefree plant but with these beetles it's game changer. Traps and multiple preventative sprays will be the norm now.

              Seeing that Fras is a very sad thing.
              Darkman AKA Charles in Pensacola South of I-10 zone 8b/9a

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              • #10
                Mike,

                I live in Roswell, near Atlanta. They infested my large Brown Turkey tree. I had to cut it down last week. I purchased something called Citrus, Fruit and Nut Orchard spray from Home Depot. The active ingredient is Pyrethrins. I am spraying all my remaining trees now. I hope it works.

                Max

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                • #11
                  Thanks for the info Max. Looks like I will have to do something drastic to some of mine. Is that the only
                  fruit tree that you have? Just wondering if they have gotten into anything else.
                  newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA

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                  • #12
                    My observation (unscientific) has been that the borers colonize fig wood that is dead, dying or dessicated (dry). I have not seen any healthy fig tree wood that has been damaged by borers.

                    Last year I pruned back several larger trees in NYC that were damaged by the cold, the trunks and limbs were often only damaged on one (1) side (lengthwise). Several trees that weren't pruned were severely infested with borers, none of the pruned trees had any visible borer activity and they were all pruned back to live wood.

                    The only borer damage to potted trees was to the main trunks of trees that died in storage and were moved outside in spring.
                    Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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                    • #13
                      You have to remember (and I speaking relatively) This is not a borer. Borers generally tunnel in and then bore down through the center of the limb, branch or twig. These Beetles bore just slightly below the live tissue and then make a "house" to live, breed, raise children and then release new generations to cause you distress. The males, much like our modern human males, don't even leave the house they just lay around and breed when the female wants too.

                      It has only been in the last few years that reports of them attacking perfectly happy trees have started coming in. There has to be some methodology to their attacks since they attack in mass. As far as I know they don't understand the attractant. The report mentioned above suggest ethanol. I believe that they are attracted to dead or diseased wood but when it is not available they will attack healthy trees. As the report mentioned Ethanol is a byproduct of decomp.

                      I wondered if I could hang up dead wood to act as an attractant and keep them sprayed with Pyrethrum to kill them. My property adjoins several acres of woods that continually has dead wood in it. Maybe the woods close by is why I saw them. My grapefruit tree had suffered stem die back from the 2013 Winter. They pretty much ignored the dead wood and attacked the biggest part of the trunk first and then worked up the tree.

                      Unfortunately the nursery industry has their "cure" which is to spray early and once. Easy for them to do with all their trees lined up like soldiers. Much harder for us the homeowner or amateur orchardist. Commercial orchards can spray fairly easily and are usually groomed once a year to remove anything resembling unhealthiness and they having a profit margin can afford whatever it takes within reason to make it to market. I guess I will be incorporating a spray program now too.

                      It will be interesting to see if Jim's tree fully recovers. If he caught them that early and killed them hopefully so. I really hope so. It took two years to kill my Grapefruit tree and it flushed out and bloomed on the wood that had the beetles in it before it died.

                      Prevention is our best "cure" at this time.
                      Darkman AKA Charles in Pensacola South of I-10 zone 8b/9a

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                      • #14
                        Below are photos of two fig trees that were "winter killed" last year. They were colonized by Ambrosia Beetles before they were cut back to soil line in late spring and did not produce much vegetative growth for 2014.
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                        The following tree was pruned back early in spring and was not affected by the beetles. it regrew and ripened figs in early fall 2014
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                        The same tree in 2013 before winter dieback and late winter 2014 before pruning...
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                        Last edited by AscPete; 04-17-2015, 09:21 PM.
                        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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                        • #15
                          Newnandog -- I have absolutely NOT rid myself of them. I'm surrounded by oak trees which sustain the population. I've seen them throughout my whole town. I went camping up in New York state last May and the first bug I saw was an ambrosia beetle. They're just everywhere. They've probably been around for years and I probably just mistook them for annoying gnats or something -- that was before I got into figs.
                          I sprayed with permethrin last year and that seemed to keep them off the trees for the most part. However, since many of my trees (all potted, stored in the basement) broke dormancy early last year, and since we had a cold, rainy spring in NJ last year, I delayed putting them out. When it was time to put them out, that was also when the beetle emergence was at its highest. Basically the beetles held my trees hostage -- I did not end up putting them out until early June!!! That was after the peak of the emergence, but there were still beetles around. So I sprayed my trees to keep them away, and I sprayed them again sometime later.
                          I feel like I'm in the same situation this year -- except that I've got 4X the number of potted trees and most of them broke dormancy early! But I still feel like I don't want to put them out!!!

                          Pete -- I've definitely seen them go for live wood. Not only my fig trees, but also a redbud and a weeping cherry. I have no doubt that they'd be more attracted to stressed out trees that are overwatered. I have also seen them going for the dead wood --- including bamboo stakes!!!!

                          Darkman -- I'm not sure what distinction you're trying to make by not calling them borers. They may not be the native (larger) borers that folks might be more familiar with. But they still bore into the wood, and some are generically called "shothole borers" since they make small holes the size of buckshot. Having said that, I agree with you 100%. These beetles are a terrible scourge! Fungus gnats are a mere annoyance by comparison. I'm sorry to hear about your grapefruit tree. The fact that it grew and fruited on the affected wood before dying may mean that my tree may eventually not make it. We will see. I have the one that was severely attacked in 2013 (that I didn't notice until early 2014), and I've got the one that I caught in the early stage of attack in 2014 -- so we'll have to keep tabs on them both.
                          Jim -- Central NJ, Zone 6b

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                          • #16
                            I just checked my monitoring trap -- I got 29 tonight so far. This is compared to 2 last night. The difference is that it was a nice, warm day today. (N.B. this is NJ....so "nice, warm" means it got into the high 60s or maybe low 70s.) When I checked the trap about 2 hours ago the number was in the low 20s and there were one or two buzzing around the trap and coming in for a landing.

                            29 is nothing. It is early in the season up here in NJ. On peak nights last May I was getting may hundreds to thousands on some nights.

                            These beetles are very, very definitely attracted to the smell of ethanol (ethyl alcohol, ethyl rubbing alcohol) (not isopropyl rubbing alcohol). During the peak of emergence last year, as I refilled the traps they would start to buzz around it even before I was done.

                            Conventional wisdom with traps like this is that they might end up attracting more than they kill. (This is said about Japanese Beetle traps.) Conventional wisdom is also that the traps are good for monitoring but not for catching/killing per se. Again, I think this statement might be true for large-scale nurseries. In my case, I'm at ground zero. They're all around. Its not like they're coming from somewhere else. Last year I set up multiple traps in a ring around my trees to protect them. I figured that even if some of my trees were stressed and giving off a small amount of ethanol, the smell of the ethanol from the traps would overpower that of the trees. I observed this firsthand. (This is after I had sprayed the trees with permethin, just in case).
                            Last edited by Needaclone; 04-17-2015, 10:02 PM.
                            Jim -- Central NJ, Zone 6b

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                            • #17
                              Originally posted by Needaclone View Post
                              Darkman -- I'm not sure what distinction you're trying to make by not calling them borers. They may not be the native (larger) borers that folks might be more familiar with. But they still bore into the wood, and some are generically called "shothole borers" since they make small holes the size of buckshot. Having said that, I agree with you 100%. These beetles are a terrible scourge! Fungus gnats are a mere annoyance by comparison. I'm sorry to hear about your grapefruit tree. The fact that it grew and fruited on the affected wood before dying may mean that my tree may eventually not make it. We will see. I have the one that was severely attacked in 2013 (that I didn't notice until early 2014), and I've got the one that I caught in the early stage of attack in 2014 -- so we'll have to keep tabs on them both.
                              That is it. Many are familiar with the native borer that will kill a limb per season. I just don't want people not understanding that this is something they might not be familiar with. With the borer you may get a dozen that attack a tree but with the ambrosia beetles. You may have hundreds. I have generally avoided growing peaches because of the necessity to spray frequently. I guess now I'll be spraying figs so I might as well grow the other fruits that require spray programs. Good thing I'm looking at retiring soon.

                              Are they daytime flyers primarily? morning? Or?

                              I will put out some traps too!
                              Darkman AKA Charles in Pensacola South of I-10 zone 8b/9a

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                              • #18
                                Mike,

                                I don't see evidence of them in my other trees, but the only other one that has been in the ground for awhile is a Peter's Honey. I planted a few 3 or 4 year old Celestes in the yard a few weeks ago and there is no sign of damage. I re sprayed all my trees today as it has rained heavily for days. I had cut the BT down with about 4 inches of trunk left that I will have to remove tHis weekend. I sprayed the trunks pretty well a week ago, too. When I looked at them this morning, there is a lot of slimy foam coming out of the trunk tops. Not sure if this is related to the fungus or not. The beetles did their damage in a matter of days. One day I look at the tree and all is fine, a few days later it had more "spikes" coming out of it than a porcupine. The threat of ambrosia beetles is very worrisome.

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                                • #19
                                  Darkman,
                                  My observations have been that their activity seems to peak at dusk. I'll see them in the late afternoon, too. But after it has been dark for an hour or two I don't really see them at all.
                                  Perhaps they don't like the strong sunlight. That doesn't quite explain why they seem to stop appearing a few hours after sunset. Also, they are really not very strong flyers, so maybe the like it when the wind dies down in the late afternoon and early evening.
                                  While it is still on the cool side her in NJ in April and May they aren't very active on the cooler days but become active if there is a warm day.
                                  Jim -- Central NJ, Zone 6b

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                                  • #20
                                    Bumping this thread back up again. Spring is here (for some of us). I found the Ambrosia beetles boring into a Native Black tree that I just planted in the ground about 2 1/2 weeks ago. This thread helped me identify the pest. Unfortunately the only safe solution for all my trees was to cut this new infected tree down, and hope that maybe it will come back from the roots. Luckily there is no evidence of these nasty little things on any of our other fruit trees or bushes.


                                    CliffH
                                    Texas (N. Houston area) - zone 8b
                                    Wish List: Rubado, Thermolito, Calderona, Cavaliere, GM-172, and GM-25

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                                    • CliffH
                                      CliffH commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      Just wanted to comment that the Native Black that I had to cut back to the ground has re-sprouted from the roots. I was not sure as the tree was only planted a couple of weeks before being cut. The bad new is that I found these nasty beetles in two other ornamental trees that I had to remove too.

                                  • #21
                                    Hi Folks,

                                    This articles was pretty good.http://ecoipm.org/wp-content/uploads...s_an_may13.pdf if you need more info.
                                    NC Zone 7a-b

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                                    • #22
                                      Spray with safari or forbid 4F
                                      Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                                      1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                                      2) This weeks ebay auctions.

                                      Comment


                                      • #23
                                        3 or so years ago we had the ambrosia beetle invade the county. They did not bother any of my fig trees but perhaps they were too small to bother with. What they did do was wipe out (as far as I can tell) every bay Laruel tree in the county. For a year all you saw were dead bay trees everywhere you looked. The trees really stood out as they were dead but still had their dried leaves on them (flagging). Once all the bay trees were dead the beetles seemed to have disappeared.
                                        Cutting sales on willsfigs.com started Nov 1 and will continue till about March 1.

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                                        • CliffH
                                          CliffH commented
                                          Editing a comment
                                          Looks like I need to give our Bay tree another once over then. I didn't check it very will, as I was concentrating on the fruit trees. Thanks for the heads up.

                                      • #24
                                        How effective is the Safari and Forbid F as a preventative? Are they mostly attacking the lower trunk and branches? Would an application of a sticky tape or something like tangle foot help if either were continuously applied from soil level to.about three feet up.
                                        Darkman AKA Charles in Pensacola South of I-10 zone 8b/9a

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                                        • #25
                                          Another thought, what if you applied misters with an organic insecticide every thirty minutes starting 1 1/2
                                          hours before and after sunset? It might be possible one could make there own spray from ghost peppers or Carolina Reapers. Those things grow like crazy and bugs leave them alone.
                                          Darkman AKA Charles in Pensacola South of I-10 zone 8b/9a

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                                          • don_sanders
                                            don_sanders commented
                                            Editing a comment
                                            That sounds like an awful lot of spraying and you probably wouldn't be able to get anywhere near those trees with reaper spray every half hour
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