[NAFEX] Saperda candida aka Round headed apple tree borer

David.Maxwell at dal.ca David.Maxwell at dal.ca
Fri Nov 9 10:03:42 EST 2007

"Whoops there goes another apple tree plant.."  Two more, actually, victims of 
Saperda candida.  The one I knew about, as the borer holes were visible and I had 
been attempting control.  The other was a few cm. below the soil surface, though, 
and not visible.  (Both trees blew over, broken at the weakened trunk, in the storm 
last week).

My understanding is that this is a relatively new problem, although around the early 
1900's in New York it was suggested that Saperda could wipe out the entire apple 
industry.  It then became nothing more than a minor pest, with the introduction of 
regular sprays for other pests.  Now, with the growth of organic agriculture it is 
making a come-back.  My own trees are largely "organic", (although it is more by 
neglect than philosophy), and I am having ongoing problems with Saperda.  I have 
painted the trunks with a mix of latex paint and lime.  Where I can detect the frass 
from Saperda activity I have been injecting insecticide directly into the holes.  (But I 
have not been able find out what insecticide is the best one to use.  Older 
references specify endosulfan, but this has been removed from the market in both 
Canada and the States.)  (This process of injecting insecticide directly into the holes 
is my own invention - I am a physician, and have ready access to syringes and 
needles.)  The advice to poke a wire into the holes is a complete waste of time - the 
holes are frequently crooked, and the wire doesn't get up (or down) to where the 
grub is.  Has anybody got any more ideas or experience in managing this pest?  
The attacks below the soil surface are a particular problem, as I can't go around 
uncovering the roots of 181 trees (used to be 183...) every few months, looking for 
signs of attack.

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