The Q&A Archives: Dying tree or shrub

Question: I have a winter blooming plant (witch hazel or honeysuckle) transplanted years ago from one stem. It's grown into a sm. tree and last year large bee-like insects attached themselves to the bark. Now we've lost one section and it looks like the whole tree may be gone within a yr. What were they and what can we do to save the tree? It added a wonderful scent to our yard. Thanks.

Answer: Sounds like a bark borer of some type. Adults lay their eggs just beneath the bark by making a little hole in the bark. When the egg hatches the larvae tunnels beneath the bark, feeding and growing until it works its way out and becomes an adult. It is difficult to control the adults because they fly away and almost impossible to control the larvae because they spend their lives hiding beneath the bark. Since one section has already died, I'd strongly recommend removing it from the garden. In doing so you may prevent the next generation of borers. Wish I had something more positive to offer, but if borers are attacking your plant, there's not much you can do.

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