trees dying - borer worms

Asked May 12, 2013, 8:09 AM EDT

There are many trees dying in our area from a small white flat headed borer worm. The trees die at the top first and then the rest of the tree dies. We have at least 10 that have died or are dying on our 5 acres. The neighbors have several. We border the Corps of Eng. land on two sides and they have lost many, many of their trees. I need to know what I can do to keep our trees. I understand that these worms have teeth and travel through the ground. We have sprayed the ground and trunks in hopes to kill these worms. They 'invade' hickory, white oak, red oak, etc. Many, many trees.

Ozark County Missouri

3 Responses

Here is an excerpt on control from our publication on borers of fruit trees (including hickory):
"ControlKeep trees in full vigor by cultivating and fertilizing where necessary. Wrapping the trunk (from ground level to the lower branches) with burlap or several thicknesses of old newspapers before the adults start to emerge in the spring can be very helpful in preventing egg-laying on the bark of newly planted trees. Apply the wrapping in May and maintain it during the first season or two, or until the trees are making good growth.The shading of the trunks of young trees also can help keep adults away. However, once the tree becomes infested, some control may be achieved by carefully removing the larvae with a knife and promptly painting the wound. For chemical control, licensed pesticide applicators may apply chlorpyrifos, lambda-cyhalothrin or any other appropriately labeled product to the trunk and larger limbs. Insecticides available for homeowner use include some formulations of carbaryl, permethrin and imidacloprid.Because adult emergence and egg-laying can occur over a long period of time, monthly insecticide applications may be needed over the course of the summer. Please read the label carefully before using any chemical for proper rates and application procedures."
Here is the link to the full publication
You may want to contact Dr. Hank Stelzer, Forester for MU, who might have more control options for you and would be interested in the scope of damage.
Henry Stelzer
Natural Resources, MU Extension
203 ABNR
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: 573-882-4444
Fax: 573-882-1977

The information you sent me does not apply to 100 year old oak trees. And, I would appreciate it if you could forward my questions to the 'expert' forestry person in Missouri. A few months ago I did send an email to the Missouri Extension Forestry Dept. and never got a reply. Maybe they would respond if they heard from you. Thanks, June

I will forward your request to the forestry folks, but you might also try emailing the MDC forestry staff.
These gentlemen are also very aware of what is happening across the state and would be interested to hear about what is going on in your area.