Bronze Birch Borer (BBB) is a tree pest that can cause major damage for those in the northern United States, including Minnesota. BBB is known to attack all species of birch trees, particularly those with white or silver bark. Due to the popularity of birch trees in Minnesota, it is important to know what BBB is, how to spot it and how to manage it.
Bronze Birch Borer is a beetle that is native to the United States and has repeatedly been the cause of extensive forestry damage in North America. These tree pests are most often found in northern states, close to the border between the United States and Canada. The borer larvae burrow into the tree and steal its nutrients, killing the tree.
BBB is a thin insect that is roughly 3/8 inch to ½ inch in length. Although it is rare to see one of these tree pests, they have a shimmering, copper body. A birch tree that is infested with BBB can be identified as having small, D-shaped holes where it has entered, beneath the bark. A decline in the foliage thickness and an increase in dieback are also signs of an infestation.
Since BBB is not successful in harming healthy trees, the best way to prevent an infestation in your tree is to practice healthy tree care habits. If you’re added a birch tree to your yard, make sure it will receive plenty of sunlight and rain, to promote better circulation and growth. When selecting a birch tree, avoid those that have white or silver bark, as they are more susceptible to infestation. You should also follow the standard tree care practices including:
- Fertilizing when the tree is not receiving the proper nutrients
- Inspecting for diseases or infestations
- Mulching to lock in soil moisture
- Pruning as necessary (except from May 1 – July 1 when BBB can attack freshly cut areas)
- Watering as necessary to keep the soil moist
Tree pests and diseases can be tricky to diagnose. If you’re unsure about the ailment of a tree on your landscape, call Ostvig Tree Care at 651-653-9930. We can help you figure out what problems your tree is experiencing and how to treat it. You can learn more about tree pests and diseases, such as Emerald Ash Borer (which is a close relative of BBB), by reading our blog.