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Black Stem Borer

Posted by Mike Biltonen 
Black Stem Borer
August 13, 2016 10:34PM
Folks may be aware that in the northeast - at least - we're dealing with a relatively new apple pest called the black stem borer. The BSB is a small ambrosia beetle that bores into the trunk of the tree, lays its eggs, brings in fungi to feed the kids, and then back half way out and dies. The BSB is attracted to trees that are under stress (the trees emit ethanol when under stress) and is particularly attracted to high density dwarf trees that are under stress. And as you can imagine trees with smaller root systems can come under stress a lot easier than larger trees. There are not many good controls even for conventional growers, much less organic or holistic growers. The best advice is to not allow your trees to become stressed. However, with no way to measure that - how much stress it too much? - and that growers are generally working to not stress their trees (at least not too much), my questions are: does anyone have any novel ideas for measuring stress and/or controlling boring ambrosia beetles (specifically black stem borer) and/or reducing the pathogenicity of the fungi the young feed on? Here's an article about the pest: Black Stem Borer

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: Black Stem Borer
June 01, 2018 08:34AM
I've lost 5 or 6 trees to this pest so far. Last year I started doing the neem oil trunk spray every two weeks. From April to October. That worked very well, however this season I got a late start and two trees were hit. One died and one is in recovery.

I've read that you can make traps for these guys with a large water bottle and some ethanol. I have yet to try it, maybe next spring.
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