How Do You Deal With Borers?

Written by: Lars Nyman

How Do You Deal With Borers?


Welcome fellow gardeners! Dealing with borers can be a frustrating and difficult experience. Borers are one of the most destructive and persistent pests, and the damage they cause can be a major challenge to reverse. This guide will help you understand how to identify, prevent, and manage borers in your garden. We'll discuss identifying symptoms, preventative methods, as well as chemical and organic treatments for an infestation. You'll gain the knowledge necessary to help keep your garden healthy and thriving!

Cheatsheet: Dealing with Borers


  • โœ… Properly prepare soil with organic matter.
  • ๐Ÿšซ Remove and destroy infested plants promptly.
  • ๐Ÿ’ช Strengthen plants by providing optimal growing conditions.


  • ๐Ÿ”Ž Regularly inspect plants for signs of borer infestation.
  • โš ๏ธ Look for wilted leaves, exit holes, or sawdust-like frass.
  • ๐Ÿ”Š Listen for feeding noises, which indicate borer presence.

Chemical Control

  • ๐Ÿ”ฌ Choose appropriate insecticides for borer control.
  • โฐ Apply insecticides at the right time in the borer lifecycle.
  • โš ๏ธ Follow instructions carefully and consider environmental impact.

Natural Remedies

  • ๐ŸŒฟ Use beneficial nematodes to target borer larvae.
  • ๐Ÿ”ฅ Apply diatomaceous earth to repel adult borers.
  • ๐ŸŒธ Attract borer predators like birds, bats, or wasps.

Protective Measures

  • ๐ŸŒฑ Employ row covers to prevent borer egg-laying.
  • ๐Ÿ”’ Use physical barriers like sticky traps or netting.
  • ๐Ÿ”ง Prune and seal any wound on plants to deter borers.

Avoid Future Attacks

  • ๐Ÿ›ก Rotate crops to interrupt borer lifecycle.
  • ๐ŸŒ Practice good garden hygiene to reduce borer habitat.
  • ๐ŸŒฟ Grow borer-resistant plant varieties whenever possible.

Fascinating Facts

๐Ÿ”ฌ Some borers can spend up to 2 years in their larval stage.
๐Ÿ’ก Borers can cause significant damage to fruit trees and shrubs.
๐Ÿฆ Attracting birds to your garden can help control borer populations.
๐Ÿ’ฅ Borers can attract other pests and diseases, creating further issues.
๐Ÿบ Borer-infested wood can be used to create beautiful sculptures and art.


Getting Rid Of Borers

Gardening can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be remarkably frustrating when pests and diseases interrupt the process and ruin your plants. Borers are a particularly annoying and potentially devastating pest. But, have no fearโ€”there are a variety of ways to get rid of these destructive pests!

Identifying Borers

First, itโ€™s important to properly identify the insect as a borer. Borers can look similar to other insects, so you want to be sure youโ€™re dealing with the right kind. Borers tend to have long antennae and cylindrical white bodies with segments. They are usually thin and about a quarter of an inch in size. Most adult borers lay eggs near the crown of plants, and larvae feed on the plantโ€™s roots.

Methods Of Control

Once you have identified the pest as a borer, you should be able to quickly and effectively remove them. Your first step should be to physically remove adults and larvae, making sure to destroy all egg masses. If you have reoccurring issues with borers, it is likely because borers are overwintering in woody plant debris in your garden. To prevent this, promptly remove dead and dying branches from trees, as well as any windfall. Additionally, you can take steps to maintain the overall health of your garden, as healthy plants are more resistant to pest damage. Mulching around plants can also help control borers, as it covers eggs and larvae and makes sites less favorable for rodents.


If physical removal is not enough to get the job done, you may need to turn to insecticides. Choose insecticides that specifically target borers, such as neem oil. Make sure to carefully read and follow the instructions on the pesticide label, including all precautions and instructions for mixing and applying the product.


Borers can be a devastating pest for gardeners. But if you are vigilant in your approach, you can manage the population and enjoy a healthy garden. Identifying borers, physical removal, and using targeted insecticides when necessary are all effective ways of dealing with these unwelcome pests.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some signs of borer infestation in plants?

Wilting, oozing sap, or sawdust-like residue may indicate a borer problem.

2. How can I prevent borers from attacking my plants?

Maintain plant health, prune properly, and consider using insecticides or sticky traps.

3. What are some natural methods to control borers?

Introduce beneficial insects, apply neem oil, or use diatomaceous earth for organic control.

4. Is there a specific time to treat plants for borers?

Apply treatments during early spring or late fall to target borers in their vulnerable stages.

5. How do I remove borers from infested plants?

Locate entry holes, insert a wire or knife, and physically extract the borers.

6. Can borers be fatal to plants?

Yes, bore damage can weaken and eventually kill plants if left untreated.

7. Should I destroy infested plant material?

Removing and destroying affected plants can help prevent the spread of borers.

8. Can borers be controlled without using chemicals?

A combination of cultural practices, biological controls, and physical removal can effectively manage borers.

As gardeners, we know that little pests like borers can really drive us crazy. But, with a bit of patience and the right kind of knowledge and tools, we can handle them much more easily than we think. A tip that I always give to other gardeners is to be prepared for some setbacks, but to never give up. With the right approach, we can always keep our gardens full of life and thriving.

Want to know more about Borers? Check out these posts:

Further reading:

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