Wood Boring Beetles
Wood Boring Beetles function in nature to help reduce dead wood to a form that can be utilized as plant food. However, those attacking preseasoned or seasoned wood, especially those which attack seasoned wood, can be very destructive to wood that we use in our structures or as furniture.
Of the more than 30,000 different species of Wood Boring Beetles, less than 100 are commonly encountered as pests of structural wood.
Because Wood Boring Beetle adults and larvae are not often encountered, diagnosis of the cause of the problem is usually based on the evidence left behind. Careful analysis of all the evidence available is necessary because rarely will one characteristic, such as exit holes, be conclusive. Therefore, the identification/conclusion will be based on type of wood damaged, age of wood, exit holes, frass and wood moisture.
Wood Boring Beetles have a complete metamorphosis life cycle: egg to larva to pupa to adult. Their eggs are usually laid in surface cracks or crevices, in wood pores or in the exit tunnel as the adult leaves the infested wood. Wood Boring Beetle larvae are always found within the wood. Larval tunnels are usually found in the sapwood and run primarily with the wood grain. These tunnels increase in diameter with each larval molt and are usually packed with a combination of wood fragments and fecal material, commonly called frass. Pupation usually occurs near the surface and the adult will bore directly to the surface to leave the wood through its exit hole. Adult Wood Boring Beetles live only a matter of days or weeks. Developmental time (egg to adult) may be as short as 50 days but may be 10 years or longer, depending on the species, and the temperature, wood moisture content and nutritional value of the wood.
Before any method of control can be proposed, it must first be determined if and which Wood Boring Beetle is causing the problem. Next, it must be determined if the infestation is active. There are several options for control of Wood Boring Beetles: removal and replacement of the wood if it is an isolated infestation, surface treatment of the wood when the infestation is in an accessible area, and fumigation for areas of infestation that are inaccessible but still require treatment. Any diagnosis of infestation or recommendation of treatment should be made by a trained and licensed pest control operator.
Adult Wood Boring Beetles lay their eggs in or near the surface of the wood; whether live tree or milled lumber depends on species. The larval stage of the Wood Boring Beetles are the most damaging, eating through the layers of wood, making expansive tunnels before pupating and chewing out an exit hole. Certain infestations can be extensive, to the degree that entire structural beams need replacing.
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