Borers can be controlled without using chemicals

Q: You mentioned controlling borers with chemicals, but can borers in trees be controlled without using chemicals?

A: Yes, it is possible. But it requires diligence. Damage to trees by borers may linger for several years before it comes to our attention. Sometimes extensive damage happens quickly. But this should not stop us from being proactive.

Use chemicals to control boring insects (borers) in trees as a last resort, not the first line of defense. Our understanding of pesticides and their use has changed over the years. There are other treatments that can work before the damage gets extensive.

When the death of an entire limb is seen in midsummer, borer damage in this area of the tree was already extensive. Extensive damage tells us we should have started looking for borer damage a few months earlier.

Discover borer damage as early as possible. Start in early spring when borers have first entered the trees as babies or have woken up after a long winter sleep. Begin looking about one month after leaves first emerge from the trees.

Look for sap oozing immediately from limbs and trunk after a good rain. At this time the bark around the trunk and limbs becomes soft. Sap oozes easily from inside the trunk and upper sides of limbs where damage occurs from borers because of tunneling and feeding just under the bark.

Sap oozing from trees is not always a clear sign of borer damage but instead a problem indicator. This indicator says, “Hey, look here!” Begin a borer search and destroy mission where this sap is located. Use a sharp, sanitized knife and cut into the trunk or limb at these locations at a sharp angle like you are whittling wood.

These cuts are shallow and clean, not ragged. Clean cuts from a sharp, sanitized knife allow the tree to heal quickly from these wounds. The damage created by your knife is much less than damage already done by borers. And destroying these borers may save the tree.

What about no rain? Try spraying the trunk and limbs with water from a hose-end sprayer near dusk.

Perhaps spraying will soften these areas enough for sap to begin oozing by the next morning. Combine this water with insecticidal soap (or unscented liquid detergent in a pinch) and start controlling aphids with this spray as well which are always a problem in the spring.

Q: You recommended a granular insecticide for controlling borers in fruit trees. What is it and how do you apply it?

A: I don’t remember recommending a granular insecticide for this purpose. The insecticide I recommend for controlling borers inside trees contains the active ingredient imidacloprid. This insecticide comes in several different forms for application, made by several different companies, and marketed under several trade names.

Read the label before buying it. Be sure it’s what you need. When deciding to use it, read the application instructions and follow them.

Use insecticides when no other options to save the tree exist. Don’t use pesticides carte blanche. Remember, one of the options available is to remove the tree.

Another option is to start looking for this pest earlier before damage is extensive. When damage is extensive, removal of a limb or the tree may be the best option and should be done as soon as possible.

My recommendations for the application of this pesticide do not contradict the label but are intended to supplement it. Following these directions may help reduce environmental and human safety problems.

Apply this pesticide after the tree has finished flowering for the season. This pesticide has been implicated in a serious problem with honeybees. It has not been proven, but it has been implicated. To avoid this problem, know when your tree flowers and apply it afterward.

If you decide to apply it, several methods of application are available. I suggest the soil drench method rather than spraying it all over the tree. Pouring the diluted liquid pesticide onto the soil helps prevent its wider distribution in the total environment.

The label may allow eating the fruit later in the season. In my opinion, I would avoid eating fruit.

The label tells you to wear protective equipment when handling it, such as unlined rubber gloves. Be sure to rinse any supplies or equipment in contact with pesticides multiple times after use and apply this rinsate rather than flush it down the drain.

Never apply any pesticide when flowers are present. Applications are best done during early morning hours or late in the evening.

Q: About 10 years ago, a beavertail cactus started to grow in front of my house. Last spring, ugly boils started appearing on the pads. The nursery told me it was being attacked by insects and recommended I spray it weekly with an insecticide until it is cured.

A: I looked at the picture sent to me of your cactus. I could see the damage to the pads done by an insect called cochineal scale. The white cottony residue that surrounds this insect was gone, but the damage done by its feeding near the thorns remain.

Even though the insect might be gone, the damage may be permanent on these pads. This insect releases immature forms of itself called crawlers and will infest the new growth causing the same problem.

Protect new pads growing from the old ones or start a new plant using pads removed from the mother plant. Your choice.

Cochineal scale doesn’t feed on smooth surfaces of plants but congregates in small colonies on or near the spines, aka glochids. The areas surrounding glochids are called areoles. The succulent flesh of the cactus is close to the surface at these locations so these tiny bugs feed with less effort at these spots, and the spines help protect them from predators.

You can continue to spray this insecticide to protect the new growth or wash off the new growth with a strong stream of water from a hose sweep. Do this twice each week during the summer months. This forceful stream of water knocks the crawlers off the new growth, protecting it.

Dormant oils and soap sprays are recommended by many, but they must be repeated every three to four days, as the pads become repopulated. Controlling ants, which move them around on plants, is also recommended.

The old-fashioned way was to apply insecticides, as you are doing, to cover the plant with a poisonous barrier. Repeat sprays according to the label, but it is usually applied less often.

Q: If I can find an apricot tree at the nursery now to replace one I lost, can it be planted soon? I saw a variety called Mormon, but it requires 600 hours of chilling for fruit production.

A: Chilling hours do not appear to be as important on many apricots as some other fruit trees. Even though Las Vegas has perhaps 200 to 400 chilling hours each year, I have had good luck growing apricots that require more chilling hours than this. With some varieties, I have had good luck at even 800 chilling hours.

Mormon apricot, also called Chinese apricot, is a good, old-fashioned apricot for our locale. The Mormon cultivar has the traditional apricot flavor, cans well and is a heavy producer of good-sized fruit without much thinning.

Plant it as soon as the weather cools off a bit, holding off as late into September and early October if you can wait that long. If you can’t wait, then go ahead and plant now but have the hole dug and the soil amended before planting it.

Buy it in a 5-gallon nursery container if available. Select a tree that has lower branches on the trunk, not overgrown for the container, appears healthy and has good form.

Plant it in the prepared hole wet and don’t let the roots dry or contact very dry soil when planting. This method reduces transplant shock.

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert and professor emeritus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Visit his blog at Send questions to

Extreme weather closes Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon
High winds and flooding closed the Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area Thursday. Minor flooding across Highway 159 caused drivers to slow, but didn't close the road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tourists enjoy rain in downtown Las Vegas
Tourists break out the umbrellas. But Brian Herting of Lincoln, Nebraska, dons shorts and a T-shirt, as he makes his way through downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday. The National Weather Service.forecast called for a 50 percent chance of rain. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Time lapse video of fog covering the Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is shrouded in fog Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Tony Spilotro's Las Vegas home for sale — VIDEO
The former Las Vegas home of Chicago mob enforcer, Tony Spilotro, is now for sale. Spilotro, who was portrayed by Joe Pesci in the film Casino, is the original owner of the home at 4675 Balfour Drive, built in 1974. (Samia DeCubas/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buffalo Drive And Mountains Edge Parkway Fatal
Las Vegas police and the Nevada Highway Patrol are investigating a fatal crash in the southwest valley on Saturday afternoon. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV's Joel Ntambwe on his play
UNLV forward Joel Ntambwe talks about his play at this point in the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Sam Schmidt chats about hectic off-season
IndyCar team owner Sam Schmidt and lead driver James Hinchcliffe chat about the hectic off-season at the SpeedVegas high-performance driving facility outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
R-J's Mark Anderson on UNLV's victory
Review-Journal sports reporter Mark Anderson recaps UNLV's victory at New Mexico. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
UNLV's Noah Robotham on the win at New Mexico
UNLV guard Noah Robotham talks about winning at New Mexico on Jan. 8, 2019. (Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV's Kris Clyburn on big 3 vs. New Mexico
UNLV guard Kris Clyburn talks about his key 3-pointer against New Mexico. (Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marvin Menzies on beating New Mexico
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about UNLV's win at New Mexico on January 8, 2019. (Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New HOV Ramp Scheduled to Open in March
New HOV ramp scheduled to open in March of 2019.
American Preparatory Academy part of charter school growth in Las Vegas
American Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas has a waiting list of students who want to attend. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Wheelchair tournament at UNLV
Cesar Robledo talks about wheelchair basketball and what it means for players to compete during the Wheelchair Basketball Division I-II Tournament at UNLV in Las Vegas, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Marvin Menzies on UNLV's trip to Hawaii
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about the upcoming trip to Hawaii. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Pinecrest Academy Horizon principal wins Milken Educator Award
Tony Sanchez on UNLV's recruiting class
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez talks about his early signing class. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Siegel Cares delivers bagels to families in need
Since Thanksgiving, Mark Lenoir of Siegel Cares, has been delivering leftover Bagelmania bagels to families staying at the Siegel Suites.
Dan Barnson steps down
Arbor View football coach Dan Barnson stepped down Friday after 12 seasons at the helm. Under Barnson, the Aggies won 104 games and became one of the top programs in Las Vegas. The Aggies went 12-2 in 2018 and won a region championship for the first time in program history. Barnson loves Friday nights, but said the 12-month commitment was getting exhausting.
NFR 2018 Highlights
NFR 2018 highlights from every round of this years rodeo.
NFR 2018 Round 10 Highlights
NFR 2018 Round 10 Highlights of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR- Joe Frost
NFR Bull Rider Joe Frost talks about the difference in bulls and his family legacy with Cassie Soto before the last round of the National Finals Rodeo.
Herm Edwards on LV Bowl loss
Arizona State coach Herm Edwards talks about the loss in the Las Vegas Bowl. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State linebacker George Helmuth after LV Bowl
Linebacker George Helmuth talks about Fresno State's turnaround. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Life and times of a 90-year-old horse player
Leo Polito of Las Vegas describes meeting legendary jockey and trainer Johnny Longden on the beach at Del Mar. Mike Brunker/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Learning the history of singing bowls
Presentation at Summerlin Library teaches residents about the history of singing bowls (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vicki Richardson speaks about on the power of art
Artist and arts advocate Vicki Richardson talks about the power of art to inspire and challenge. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DressCoders pairs tech with haute couture
DressCoders is a startup focused on haute couture garments. The company uses illuminated thread that is washable and can be sewn right into the fabric. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Brava infrared oven
In cooking with the Brava infrared oven,there’s no preheating. the bulbs can reach 500 degrees in less than a second. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sinks Merge Style And Utility
Study could determine cause of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases
Dr. Aaron Ritter, director of clinical trials at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, discusses his research on how inflammation in the brain impacts Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holocaust survivors talk about tragedy and friendship
Janos Strauss and Alexander Kuechel share their perspectives on life. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Siegel Cares' Santa delivers toys to kids at Siegel Suites in Las Vegas
Siegel Cares, the charitable wing of The Siegel Group, delivered toys to families at their apartment complexes in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Revisiting “Christ the King” sculpture
A longtime admirer of the sculpture at Christ the King Catholic Community in Las Vegas shares her perspective. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terry Fator Christmas House
Arguably better than a hotel holiday display, is Terry and Angie Fator's home located in southwest Las Vegas.
UNLV Winter Graduation Packs Thomas & Mack
UNLV's 55th winter commencement ceremony included approximately 2,146 undergraduate and graduate students who recently completed their studies. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Build-A-Bear comes to Reed Elementary School
Students participated in a Build-A-Bear-Workshop at Doris Reed Elementary School in Las Vegas, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the LVRJ
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center art depicts names of God
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center founder Sharaf Haseebullah talks about new diamond-shaped art panels featuring some of the 99 names of Allah at the main entrance the Las Vegas mosque. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
People participated in the 14th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run which raises cubs for Opportunity Village.
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like