Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ivory-Marked Beetle

 
(there is a hitchhiker in this photo---can you figure out what it is?)
This longhorned beetle is the Ivory-Marked Beetle (Eburia quadrigeminata), sometimes they are referred to as Four-Marked Ash Borer. They are a fairly small to average sized longhorn, reaching a body length up to 3/4 of an inch, and approximately 1 1/2 inches with antennae. Light brown in color, with six bright white spots on each elytra (wing) that are surrounded by a dark ring. They have a fairly broad range that includes all of  the Eastern and Central United States, as well as parts of Mexico and Arizona.
 
Deciduous woodlands and the nearby area is their favored habitat, but they will often come to lights at night. Females deposit eggs on hardwood trees, usually in the cracks of bark. (Let me clarify here, they will only feed on dead or decaying trees, they will not harm healthy living trees...Thanks Ted for pointing out my oversight).When the larvae hatches it will eat its way into the heartwood of the tree. They feed on the wood pulp. Adults will readily come to fermented molasses bait. In large numbers these beetles could become serious pests to trees, and can cause significant damage. Because of their boring habit, and their capability of reaching the center of even the largest of trees it is not uncommon for these beetles to emerge as much as 10 to 40 years later in wood that was used to make furniture or hardwood flooring.

21 comments:

  1. I hate even thinking about these bad boys attacking our trees. I look at our trees and and know that they are under constant assault. I worry that we will lose them. Between the past drought, the ice storms and the critters there has been a big toll taken on our trees.

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    1. OK, Chicken Little, do more research before you declare the sky is falling. They go for DEAD trees. LORDY!

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    2. Shoot first, ask questions later, huh?
      They eat DEAD wood. So don't let it hang out on your furniture or hardwood floors.
      It's quite tame, and has not displayed any agressive behavior when I put it in a plaastic dish.

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  2. I know what you mean, there is almost nothing sadder to a nature lover than to lose trees, especially large older ones. Several years ago we had to bring down a large maple tree that had been taken over by beetles and rot. It was over 80 feet tall and had a girth of 19 feet. It provided shade for our dogs and for our home. The landscape looked so bare without it. I actually cried, when we cut it down. Many of our other trees are weakened for the same reasons you listed, I'm sure we will be cutting more down soon. :o(

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  3. This species does not attack healthy living trees. Instead, it breeds in dead trees or the dead parts of declining trees. It should be celebrated as a beautiful component of the natural cycle of life, death, and renewal in our forest's ecosystem.

    I believe I see a little pseudoscorpion hitching a ride on the beetles wing cover.

    regards--ted

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  4. Thanks Ted, for clarifying their habits. I certainly didn't mean to imply they fed on living healthy trees. I guess I should have been more clear in my information.
    That little pseudoscorpion was quite a surprise...I had taken the pictures without even noticing it was there. When I pulled the pictures off the camera and looked at them on the computer...there is was!

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  5. I just found one in my home three years after purchasing a piece of unfinished furniture. How do I know if it came from that piece (which has been finished)? Should I look for more on the furniture or assume that it has come in from outside?
    thanks!

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    1. It is possible that it burrowed out of the furniture you bought, look the piece of furniture over really well and if it came out of the furniture, there will be a small exit hole. It may even have a little "saw dust" present at the exit site that would tell you it was a "fresh hole". It could be that the beetle just flew into the house when you opened an outside door. They will sometimes come to porch lights.

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  6. I just found this bug in my daughters room :( We have solid hardwood floors but we also just had a bed hand crafted for her. How do i know if there is more what should i do ???

    Bethaney

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  7. my son seen one of these in our home are they harmful to us or our pets.also it was with eggs we killed not knowing what it was this was any of our frist time seeing it

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  8. my son seen one of these in our home are they harmful to us or our pets.also it was with eggs we killed not knowing what it was this was any of our frist time seeing it

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    1. They are harmless to you, your son and your pets. They won't bite unless handled roughly and even then I'm not sure they would bite. I have handled them frequently and never had a problem. Not sure what the eggs would have been, I can't say as I have ever seen the eggs of this species.

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  9. I just caught one outside. Going to try to keep it in a jar with dead wood and dirt. any advice would be greatly appreciated. I want to study and record it's behavior.

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  10. I found one in my house the other night - strange bug. Could this have travelled in with our new redwood playset? Should I be concerned about the wood being infested? Yikes!

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    1. It is quite possible that this beetle made its way to your home through the playset you bought. If the lumber that was used to make the playset contained larvae of this species it could have emerged when it was mature. Look for exit holes on the playset and that should tell you if that is where the beetle came from, especially if you find anymore.

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  11. Replies
    1. No worries, they feed on dying and decaying wood only.

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  12. A friend of mine says she was bitten by one. She named it so I'm pretty sure she is sure it was a Ivory-Marked Long Horn Beetle. Any advice on treatment?

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    1. If she is 100% sure it was this beetle then she has nothing to worry about. They are not known to cause any harm to humans. Just wash the area where she was bit and maybe put an antibiotic ointment on it and she should be good to go.

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  13. Homes are dead wood. Do they cause damage like termites in homes?

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    1. It is possible for them to already be in the wood your home was built from, but highly unlikely. In such cases the adult beetle will emerge and leave looking for a mate. These beetles will not actively seek out homes for their boring habits. There is no nutritional value in the wood your home is made from.

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