Arborcare-Arborscape, Inc. 2018  

ArborCare ArborScape (801) 972-Tree (8733)

IPS Bark Beetles and Borers

What are Bark Beetles and Borers?

Bark beetles and borers are insects that tunnel inside the woody material of a tree or shrub. Some, such as the Ips bark beetle tunnel just underneath the bark and stay exclusively in the cambium layer, or conductive tissue, of the tree. Others, such as the Ash/Lilac borer start in the cambium layer then continue tunneling deeper into the sapwood of the tree. Some borers, such as the Pine pitch tube borer have very evident entry holes in the lower trunk of the tree, making early detection more easily possible.

With these types of borers sap or frass coming out of the entry hole is usually present. Others, such as the bronze birch borer, start in the top of the tree and are not usually noticed until a branch or section in the upper crown of the tree starts to decline and die. At this point the exit holes in these branches become noticeable and sawdust comes out instead of sap or frass. The majority of beetles and borers are attracted to and attack trees that are already stressed for other reasons, often water, soil, nutrient, or root related problems.

Keeping trees as healthy as possible is often one of the best ways to help aid in prevention. There are some, however, that are just perpetual problems and will attack even healthy trees. Some types of beetles and borers can be controlled after they have entered a tree, others will kill the tree once they enter. Various sprays and systemic treatments can often be performed for either control or prevention depending on the type of tree and insect. The tree should be evaluated for its general health, amount of damage already sustained, or potential risk of infestation in order to determine the proper treatment plan.

Common beetles and borers in our area

If you have any questions or would like to speak with an ArborCare representative regarding your tree care needs, please e-mail us at or call us at (801) 972-8733.

(Pitch Mass Borer on Pine)

(Pitch Tube Borer on Scotch Pine)

(Borer Exit Holes)


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