How much do you know about insects that bore into trees on your Marietta, GA, property? As Marietta’s arborist service, SoutheastTree’s tree care professionals have advised countless local residents and business owners on how to protect their front yards and plantations from pesky borers.
According to the Smithsonian Institution, more than 73,000 insect species in the United States are yet to receive a description from scientists, with thousands of these able to bore into trees and sap nutrients. As worldwide weather patterns become more unpredictable, insect species are also migrating. They infest new environments, causing dead branches, peeling bark, or yellowing leaves as they place stress on trees and surrounding vegetation.
Below, our licensed arborists outline three prevalent tree borers in Georgia that infect trees in deciduous forests and front lawns alike.
Pine Bark Beetles
Tree-boring insects in Georgia are prevalent because they’ve spent thousands of years evading predators, navigating climate change, competing with other invasive species, and spreading disease. One of the pests that can survive in nearly all geographic regions, topographies, and weather conditions in Georgia and nearby states is the pine bark beetle.
Estimated losses from pine bark beetles have stretched into the millions since 1962, with seasonal outbreaks decimating the local economy. The southern pine beetle, black turpentine beetle, and engraver or Ips beetle occur in the urban and forested areas of Georgia.
An adult beetle is about 0.09 inches long with a black, brown, or reddish color. They infect stressed trees with invasive fungi while the borer attack targets the phloem and xylem tissues, which deliver moisture to leaves and branches. Pine bark beetles infect pulpwood, sapling, and other yellow pine species, leaving boring dust, pitch tubes, exit holes, and browning needles.
Unfortunately, arborists like SoutheastTree cannot save trees infected with pine bark beetles as they develop high resistance to chemical substances and insecticides after nesting. However, the approved treatment is the quick destruction of any infected trees and the shielding of nearby species.
Emerald Ash Borer
The emerald ash borer has been among the most famous insects that bore into trees since its discovery in Michigan in 2002. It infests ash trees with weakened immune systems, usually from age, fungal infections, or infestations from the borer’s competing species. When the State of Georgia found the first colony in 2013, it imposed a regional quarantine that turned statewide in 2017.
The emerald ash borer has a metallic, bright green appearance and reaches half an inch long upon maturity. It penetrates the bark of weakened ash trees, sapping nutrients and moisture and leaving S-shaped tunnels. Infected trees usually feature the following:
- Large holes from woodpeckers (emerald ash borers are their natural prey)
- Canopy dieback
- Bulging spots in the bark
Insecticides cannot stop an emerald ash borer infestation, and arborists recommend destroying infected trees. But tree care professionals can protect nearby trees with approved pest control chemicals that compensate for the ash trees’ lack of natural defenses against emerald ash borers.
Bronze Birch Borer
The final pest is the bronze birch borer, a native to the United States. Many Marietta white birch trees in yards and public roads are unhealthy, making them vulnerable to this species. It is also a prevalent threat to paper birch, killing thousands of trees annually.
Infected trees usually feature the following:
- Discolored foliage
- Thinning crowns
- Dying branches and leaves
- S-shaped galleries inside the bark
If you suspect an infestation of bronze birch borers in Georgia, don’t wait too long to call an arborist like SoutheastTree. Quick tree removal and systemic insecticides can save neighboring trees.
Call the Experts Today
Learn more about tree diseases and destructive insects that bore into trees by calling SoutheastTree at (770) 977-8733 today for a free estimate!