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Borer injection remedies

Posted by Terry Schaedig 
Borer injection remedies
October 18, 2014 06:47PM
I have a major problem with Round Headed Apple Borer and unfortunately am not there full time to protect young trees. They are now laying eggs above my 24 inch window screens which aren't foolproof in the first place. I am excavating tunnels and borers and plan to inject permethrin with a syringe for hidden borers as my only option at this point. Neem spray will happen when I return there full time. Any suggestions on an insecticide to use for injections and maybe something for injections but more benign?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/21/2014 06:03PM by Michael Phillips.
Re: Round-headed apple borer
October 18, 2014 08:17PM
You are a lot more tolerant than I - I have gone at them with endosulfan injected into their tunnels, (and comforted myself with the thought that the actual quantities of highly toxic materials involved is miniscule because I am restricting the application specifically to their homes - a few ml. of material in each tree. Yeh, yeh, I know, I am being hypocritical here. But the alternative is the total destruction of my orchard.) I did totally lose an espaliered fence the length of my urban property a number of years ago. And they are killing 5 to 10 trees each year in my current orchard.
However, in answer to your actual question: yes, a "more benign" agent to use is naptha flakes (moth flakes) dissolved in
some organic oil (olive oil/cottonseed oil, etc.) This has been published a number of times. I was going to do it myself a couple of years ago. But when I saw the wanton destruction being wreaked by the b@#$%%^s, I opted for the biggest guns I could find. The other arm in this battle is prevention - coating the tree trunks with a mixture of lime, manure and interior latex paint is supposed to discourage mama RHAB from laying her eggs. Lime + latex paint alone does not, as evidenced by my current crop of larvae.

This is a different battlefield than any other issue in the orchard. I am resigned to losing a portion of my apple crop to insects and disease. I am not willing to sacrifice the trees themselves. I'm off in my Haz-Mat suit and chemical gloves to do battle this afternoon.

Broomholm Orchard
Zone 5b in Nova Scotia
Re: Round-headed apple borer
October 20, 2014 04:53PM
When I cannot get to the larvae during trunk probing, my injection is a slightly diluted pyrethrum mixture delivered in a syringe. Any injection method leaves some mystery to the effectiveness, so my test consisted of the following: I captured an adult beetle, gave him residence in a jar previously wetted in the mixture (wetted, not a puddle), and attached a perforated lid. He (or she) was dead within the hour. The assumption, and it is an assumption, is that the softer and more succulent stage of the larvae would even more readily absorb the toxin.

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
Zone 3 in Vermont
Re: Round-headed apple borer
October 21, 2014 05:59PM
Finding the signs of trunk penetration by borer can be tricky, especially when there's more than one culprit involved. I probe with either a pocket knife or spade drill bit, and while I often find the grub ... still, one wonders. My treatment after this surgery this fall involves using a butter knife to slather pure neem oil (not necessarily liquefied) straight from the jug around affected trunks at the soil line, especially thick into all opened borer cavities. I cut away surface bark where the damage is just below but do stop cutting away bark when holes go deeper ... knowing callus tissue will form from the edges around the damaged zone. The azidiractins in neem should have impact on any undiscovered borers. Just as relevant - in my herbal mind smiling smiley - is that the unsaturated fats in neem will help with building restorative callus. I then wrapped this zone of slathered neem with fresh comfrey leaves, as the allantoin in comfrey helps grow new cambium cells as well. All was held in place on younger trees with those spiral tree guards used in nurseries for voles. It will be interesting to unwrap these trees next spring and see healthy regrowth and no more of that damn borer frass.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Round-headed apple borer
November 03, 2014 03:41PM
I have no actual experience dealing with this insect; that said here are some suggestions to explore.

Instead of naptha you might try camphor crystals as a repellent. Much less toxic than naptha or paradichlorobenzene, but much harder to source and likely costing about 10 times as much. The only time I tried to source it for PTB was 35 years ago and I don't recall if I got some from the local new (hippie) herb shop where I attempted sourcing it. What I do remember is that a few months later they got busted for marijuana dealing and closed down. Should be easy to source now with the internet; I would start with Frontier Herbs in Iowa.

There is a new neem product made for injection; it is water soluble and systemic. For injection in the normal fashion the tree trunk needs to be 4" or more in diameter for it to be effective. Azasol is also absorbed by soil drench and foliar application. Please check my previous bug by bug post to the peach tree borer thread from Marsha Lindner for Azasol discussion that I won't repeat. It is an effective control for Emerald Ash Borer when injected. Lowest price injection kit is $400. I suppose a syringe in borer holes may work, but it is going to be largely after the damage is done. If you are going to take the later approach; then you may want to try using injected parasitic nematodes. Azasol, injection equipment, and use info available from: www.arborjet.com Woburn, MA 781-935-9070. For specific use info contact their research horticulturist Matt at 781-281-4796.
I used Azasol as foliar with runoff and soil drench for chestnut weevil, on 2 front yard trees, this fall and appeared to have success. Was definitely not a controlled test, but what chestnuts I was able to harvest, ( squirrels took all the best and 90% of a huge 100# crop load / anybody have an effective way to control squirrels in small urban backyard plantings other than constant "22" patrol?), had much less weevil emergence than last year.

BioRational Resource
zone 6a/7b

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/2014 01:52PM by Dan Lefever.
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