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Borers

Natural Control of Borer Pests – Leafminers, Sawflies and Moths
Borer control products
Insect Borers can be found across several unrelated groups of insects. They may be beetles from the order Coleoptera or from the orders Diptera (miners), Hymenoptera (sawflies and wasps) or Lepidoptera (moths). The larvae of some of these groups are called borers because they bore into buds, shoots, the bark and trunks of trees, shrubs and other plants. They destroy plant tissue as they bore through. Borer damage can be noticed by dark or discolored areas with sap and sawdust-like residue clinging to the bark or littering the ground.

This page focuses on miners, sawflies, wasps and moths. If the pest is a beetle, please see the Beetles page and search for Wood Borers.

DIPTERA – MINERS
Diptera is a broad order that includes true flies, mosquitoes, gnats and midges. Two groups of flies in the families Phytobia and Agromyzidae are generally called miners because of the damage their larvae cause. The Phytobia are specific to several types of trees and cause damage to the interior layer of the cambium. The Agromyzidae are mainly leafminers affecting many different crops, vegetables, and grasses. Some Agromyzidae may devastate stems. All also feed on fungi that will infect the plant through the original damage at egg deposit, and the stem feeders may bring on root or crown rot fungus.

Life Cycle

The Phytobia life cycle begins in the late spring when a newly emerged female feeds on the tree’s sap by boring into it, and then lays her eggs, usually in the upper part of the tree on small branches.  When the eggs hatch into larvae, they bore their way down the tree; many species travel up to 15 meters to the base of the tree before they turn around and go back up.  All this is in the cambium layer, where it is unseen. Eventually, after 1-2 years, the larvae have grown enough to pupate. They exit the tree, fall to the ground, and burrow in, where they emerge the next year as adult flies ready to renew the cycle.

The Phytobia’s main economic impact is when the wood is harvested; it is full of tunnel tracks, called pith ray flecks that reduce the value of the wood and make it unsuitable for veneer. Other Phytobia attack willow and make it unusable because it weakens the wood fiber.

The Agromyzidae are mainly stem and leaf miners; the female flies in this group lay their eggs in the host plant of the soon-to-emerge larvae. Those that are stem miners pierce the stem and deposit eggs; others deposit eggs inside the leaf. Because of the damage done to the leaf or stem, fungi will usually invade. Upon emerging, the larvae travel through the leaf or stem, eating the leaf and the fungi that have grown there. Leafminer larvae must eat the fungi to survive. When they have grown sufficiently, they will exit the stem or the leaf, drop to the ground, dig in, and pupate. A few weeks later, the cycle starts again for leafminers; during the warm summers, there could be a life cycle completed every two weeks. For stem miners, the life cycle is usually a year or until the plant dies.

Pest Borer Control

  • There is no known control for Phytobia, but research has shown that the fastest growing trees and young trees are more susceptible to the miner. Monitoring could help trap the flies as they emerge in the spring. Use blue sticky traps.
  • Agromyzidae can be controlled by Spinosad products like Monterey Insect Spray that interrupt their life cycle as they feed on the sprayed leaves or stems. However, all insecticidal use may also deplete the naturally-occurring enemies of leafminers. Do not use insecticides unless they are labeled for leafminers. Use blue sticky traps to monitor the arrival of flies so that application can be timed correctly.  According to one study, NemAttack (Steinernema carpocapsae or Steinernema feltiae) controlled leafminer larvae when applied to L trifolii. NemaSeek (Heterorhabditis bacteriophora) will control leafminer pupae present in the soil.

Beneficial insects such as Dacnusa sibirica and Diglyphus isaea often only require release once or twice a year if they can establish well for consistent control.

Click on the borer pest control and prevention products below for more info and ordering. 

Click on the links below for more infomation on borer pests.
Fruit fly pest control
Hymenoptera – Sawflies and Horntail Wasps
This group are borer pests causes a lot of damage to trees, shrubs, grasses (both residential and agricultural), raspberries and roses.
Sqaush Vine Borer Lepidoptera Moth
Lepidoptera – Moths
Certain moths are classified as pest borers due to their larval activity.
Other Borers - Click for more info & photos

Peachtree Borer

Lesser Peachtree Borer

European Corn Borer

Iris Borer

Squash Vine Borer

Red Necked Cane Borer

     
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Scentry Group A Lures - Clearwing Banded Ash Borer
Pheromone Lures for Use in Trapping and Monitoring Pest Insects

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Scentry Group A Lures - Clearwing Peachtree Borer
Pheromone Lures for Use in Trapping and Monitoring Pest Insects

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Scentry Group A Lures - Clearwing Rhododendron Borer
Pheromone Lures for Use in Trapping and Monitoring Pest Insects

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Scentry Group A Lures - European Corn Borer (Iowa Strain)
Pheromone Lures for Use in Trapping and Monitoring Pest Insects

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Scentry Group A Lures - European Corn Borer (New York Strain)
Pheromone Lures for Use in Trapping and Monitoring Pest Insects

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Scentry Group A Lures - Lesser Peachtree Borer
Pheromone Lures for Use in Trapping and Monitoring Pest Insects

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Scentry Group A Lures - Peach twig borer
Pheromone Lures for Use in Trapping and Monitoring Pest Insects

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<i>Dacnusa siberica</i>, Cool-Weather Leafminer Parasitoid - 500 adults
Use this cool weather parasitoid to prevent leafminer damage on tomato crops.

Ships via UPS Next Day Air on Mondays only. Orders received by Wed., 6 AM MST will ship the following Monday. Min. 5 day processing time.
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$169.00
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<i>Diglyphus isaea</i>, Warm-Weather Leafminer Parasite
Release warm weather leafminer parasites to prevent Agromyzid leafminers during warm weather and in greenhouses.

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Monterey Garden Insect Spray
OMRI LISTED. Use to Control Many Soft-Bodied Pests on Ornamentals, Lawns, Vegetables, Fruit Trees & Fire Ant Mounds.

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NemAttack Beneficial Nematodes - Sf
Best suited for mobile pests that include fungus gnats, ticks, thrips, leafminers, caterpillars, cutworms, sod webworms, onion maggots, subterranean termites and more. Best Choice for Foliar and Greenhouse Applications. Safe for use in gardens.

Free Shipping in the contiguous 48 United States!
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NemAttack - NemaSeek Combo Pack - Hb & Sf
Two Varieties of Beneficial Nematodes to Control Mobile & Stationary Pests!

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NemaSeek Beneficial Nematodes - Hb
Seeks Out Stationary Pests including Grubs, root zone weevils, citrus weevils, Japanese beetles, black vine weevils, ticks, queen ants/termites and more. Great for gardens, lawns, fields, pastures and orchards.

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Weed & Disease Kit
We've assembled this kit to provide you with our best selection of products to control weeds & plant diseases while saving you money!

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