How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Shothole Borer

Scientific name: Scolytus rugulosus

(Reviewed 10/14, updated 10/14)

In this Guideline:


Shothole borers are tiny brown or black beetles. Their white legless grubs mine the sapwood of the tree and often reduce it to powder. Adult females bore tiny holes in the bark and lay eggs in the cambium layer of the tree. When the eggs hatch, young larvae feed and excavate secondary galleries at right angles to the egg gallery. The outline of the gallery system resembles a centipede. There are from one to three generations each year.

DAMAGE     View photos of borer damage

Normally a number of shothole borer adults invade a tree at the same time. Healthy trees exude resin, which usually kills the insects. If the tree has injured or weakened areas, this increase in resin does not develop and the invasion is successful. Ultimately, larvae may girdle the tree, or tree part, and cause its death.


Spraying for this insect is not recommended. Shothole borers invade trees that have been previously damaged. The nature of this damage dictates the course of preventive action. To prevent attack by this beetle, maintain trees in a sound and vigorous condition, with sufficient fertilizers, water, and sunburn prevention to keep uninfested tree limbs from becoming damaged.

  • Pruning can be helpful in eliminating areas in older trees infested with shothole borer. Be careful during summer pruning to avoid exposing scaffolds to direct sunlight.
  • Remove severely infested trees.
  • Burn or remove all infested wood from the orchard before the growing season starts. Do not leave pruned limbs or stumps (healthy or infested) near orchards (for example, in woodpiles) as beetles can emerge from these materials before they dry out and migrate into orchards.



[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Apricot
UC ANR Publication 3433

Insects and Mites

W. W. Coates, UC Cooperative Extension, San Benito County
R. A. Van Steenwyk, Insect Biology, UC Berkeley
W. J. Bentley, UC IPM Program, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
K. R. Day, UC Cooperative Extension, Tulare County
K. A. Kelley, UC Cooperative Extension, Stanislaus County
J. L. Caprile, UC Cooperative Extension, Contra Costa County

Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:
L. C. Hendricks, UC Cooperative Extension, Merced County

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