Landscaping & Nursery Information for Home Gardeners

Peach Borers

Peach borers kill more trees than all other causes combined. They are large enough to find easily in early November. Usually they are at or just below the ground surface. They betray their presence by gum full of "sawdust." Carefully hoe away the earth 4" to 6" deep around the trunks of the trees, if possible without disturbing the gum. Then with a trowel remove the gum and keep a sharp lookout for white  worms with brown heads. If not found in the gum look for holes and soft spots in the bark. Use a narrow pointed penknife to cut into these thin places. Follow the tunnels to the ends and kill the worm in each tunnel. 

Leave the excavation around the tree for two weeks then examine the trunks again for worms missed the first time. Fresh gum and sawdust tell where they are. 

Kill them. Fill the excavation with soil and tramp down. 

Peach borers also kill grafted double flowering almond. Treat in the same way. 

Another way is to spread paradichlorobenzine powder in a disc around the base of each tree but without touching the trunk with it and covering with earth several inches deep. The fumes are poisonous  to the worms. The proper time to do this is in early autumn while the ground is warm and moist. The material may be obtained at garden supply stores. 

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Peach borer injury usually shows up as a sap oozing from the tree, or an amber-like bubble (hardened sap) on the trunk or crotches. The hardened sap will cover an insect hole that may be filled with frass or a sawdust matter. The bark will feel loose in the area around the injury. Tunnels will be present beneath the bark when it is peeled back or whittled away.

The Peach Tree Borer is white and about an inch long. It works on the tree close to the ground. Adult moths appear in July and August, lay eggs and damage occurs soon thereafter as eggs hatch into larva.

The Lesser Peach Tree Borer is similar to the peach tree borer except damage occur on the upper trunk and limbs. Moths appear in spring, lay eggs on the bark, and larva hatch and tunnel in.

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See Also: Garden Pests

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