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Carpenter Worm is the larvae of a moth. It is extremely prevalent in Willow trees where the summers are hot and dry. They can also attack Ashes, Oaks and Pears. Most Willow trees in the Central Valley of California will have Carpenter Worm at some point. These larvae live in the tree for more than one year and create meandering tunnels as big around as your little finger. Because of this they can cause extensive damage, and allow other insects and wood decay fungi to also attack the tree. As with most other boring insects, choosing non-susceptible species, and keeping any susceptible trees well watered is your best defense.
The low-toxicity, year-long insecticide injection that works on other types of boring insects (see info on borers) will not work on Carpenter Worm, so you must take other measures. The application we prefer to make to control these creatures is with a biological product made from insecticidal nematodes. These nematodes (microscopic worms), hunt down insects, pierce them, and kill them. They are completely harmless to anything other than insects (you and me). These minute creatures are your special guided missiles that you send in to kill the bugs hurting your trees. They sniff out the location of the Carpenter Worm by smelling for its exhaled carbon dioxide. This application must be made just at dark so that the UV radiation from the sun does not kill your miniature mercenaries. Please contact us for more info or to arrange for an application of this great, environmentally safe product.