PUBLISHED ON June 16th, 2015
The Oregon Department of Agriculture wants to know if you’ve seen an “old-house borer” beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus). First detected in 2013, Oregon pest control service companies warn that this beetle is not like others that feed on stressed or dead trees; it eats dry seasoned wood. In regards to pest control, Oregon researchers have only seen the beetle in The Dalles. It was in a cherry orchard, but there were no signs of an infestation.
The “old-house borer” beetle loves to eat lumber that’s 10 years old or younger, particularly conifer lumber and softwoods that are free of varnish or paint. Despite its name, the species are more common in new homes than old ones. In northeastern and eastern U.S. states and Europe, the beetles are one of the most harmful wood-boring insects.
The “old-house borer” beetle is originally from North Africa. It is the only Cerambycid beetle that re-infests wood. Beetle pest control professionals state that the insects live between 2 and 10 years, depending on the type of wood in which larvae hatch, its moisture content and environmental conditions.
The beetles are most destructive in their larval stage, as this is the time when they feed on wood. Once they become adults, the beetles bore holes that are up to 3/8 inch in wood to escape. Adults are most active during the summer, when they look for untreated wood in which to lay eggs.
Adult “old-house borer” beetles are brown to black in color. They sometimes appear grey because of furry looking grey hairs on the upper body, particularly the wings. The beetles also have two raised areas that look shiny behind the head, which may look like eyes. Adults are 5/8 to 1 inch long.
“Old-house borer” beetle damage looks similar to carpenter ant damage from the outside of lumber. Unlike carpenter ants, which carve smooth chambers in wood, the young beetles leave tunnels packed with sawdust. The holes that they create are about ¼-inch in diameter or smaller and have fine wood powder around them.
Using pesticides to control “old-house borer” beetles may harm you than it harms them. If you think you see an “old-house borer” outside or in your home, trap it (if you can) and contact Eden. Eden will identify the insect. If it is an “old-house borer,” technicians will contact the Department of Agriculture. If you notice damaged wood in your home or property, it warrants the need for pest management. Oregon residents should get in touch with Eden for a free inspection. Call to schedule an appointment today.