termites or wood boring beetles in tree?

Well it isn’t termites, but we do have a problem

ith the house in disarray with the expansion of the master closet, sometimes things get overlooked. I’ll give this specific example – there were little specs of dust all over our furniture under the dead/dying Chinese pistache tree. I assumed it was flecks of dust in the air from cutting wood or concrete that just settled on the furniture.

But then earlier this week I used the lawn blower to clean off the furniture to come back a few hours later and see they returned!

why is there wood dust under my treespecs of dust wood under tree

But last night we had a crazy haboob – that’s Arizonan for a CRAZY dust storm! The next morning I examined all the leaves I had blown earlier that a day before the storm suddenly all over my lawn and saw a few branches fallen from the tree in the backyard. Upon closer inspection, that looks like bug tunnels!!!

termites or wood boring beetles in tree?

First rule – do not self diagnose anything on your own if you are not a professional arborist or bug expert. It’s not worth the panic because first mind went to termites, which resulted in many phone calls and schedules with companies until my dad said, get some more quotes. Which lead me to calling Jason from Top Tree who I have saved in my phone because he’s our designated arborist who knows us, our property and we trust.

I told him what I thought it was, and he quickly asked for images and then had the discussion of wood boring beetles which are around right now and tackle compromised trees. He also said don’t have termite people come because they will often try to sell their services for termite prevention even if you don’t need it – these wood boring beetles won’t harm our home. PHEW!

Look at these tiny holes.

small holes in a tree termites or wood boring beetles

arizona woodboring beetle

Oh do you see the guy?? He has a friend right behind him.

close up of a wood borer

Here are more images of branches with holes.

wood boring beetles

On a related note, Jason asked when we purchased our tree and asked if it was 2015 or 2016 and I said yes, it was about 6 years old when we planted it actually (but not exactly 6 years old since it was actually quite older), and he said those that were planted around those years they had a bacterial issue in them in the California nurseries and they destroyed a lot of them, but some didn’t get destroyed (who knows why, money?) and they are now dying.

Of course I am uncertain what actually killed the tree, bacterial infection, or my Molly Suds I also used a bit of by the tree and probably burned the roots, after the new sprinkler irrigation was installed and then Benjamin over fertilizing it…oh well. Anyway I thought I’d share that information.

The wood borers can sense when a tree is struggling and they come in and do their job – start making their tunnels, and help the tree decompose back into the Earth. Aren’t all God’s creatures so amazing? As annoying as it can be sometimes I also think how beautiful it is that our Creator has made everything with a purpose, including me and you.

dying Chinese pistache tree wood borers

We will be removing this tree ourselves this weekend since we have the equipment of a saw, and it’s not a large tree AND we have the dumpster. We won’t have to worry about these bugs getting into other trees or homes. Honestly they will probably stick on those branches and that tree all the way to the dump and continue their job.

A trip to the nursery later today helped though. I added more after I snapped this photo.

arizona tree plant blogger blog phoenix

Group photo!

arizona tree plant blogger blog phoenix

This shouldn’t cost $450 but it did. Yikes. It just adds up but nothing makes me happier than seeing blooms and knowing I will soon have company of my dear friends over, laughing, celebrating and making memories for the next few months!

There is so much more to tell you here but I am giving myself time to have coherent thoughts removing so many emotions from what I am thinking and feeling to give helpful information. The closet is only halfway done and I’m sure to the outside it seems fast, but as a homeowner it does not when I think many subcontractors can be quicker to arrive and finish a job, but I suppose things are very different now.

I’ll keep you posted on here and on stories. Life has been getting a little busy but in a great way so I’m trying to focus on tasks in front of me and share anything I hope you would find helpful. Thanks for reading! xx

Diana Elizabeth bought root powder she might try to propagate some bushes in her backyard that might help her save money… and she also thinks maybe buying perennials would be a better idea than annuals but annuals are just so pretty with the flowers! She prefers colors and florals over just green indoor plants.


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Diana Elizabeth Steffen setting the table for her annual garden party


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Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next creative themed party. She continues to blog weekly.


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