Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Red-Headed Ash Borer

This long-legged beetle is the Red-Headed Ash Borer (Neoclytus acuminatus). They reach lengths up to 3/4 of an inch. They would be hard to mistake for any other species. With a distinct striped elytra and a reddish colored head and thorax they look nothing like any other species. Their antennae is greatly thickened at the end. Their back legs are much longer than the rest of their legs. They have an over all elongated appearance. With a range covering all of the Eastern United States they are quite common. Look for them near hard wood timbers or wood piles where the larvae feed on a variety dying, distressed or cut green timber, including Ash, oak, hickory and hackberry as well as some shrubs and vines. The adults of this species are very rapid climbers and fliers. They tend to be very shy and will fly away quickly when approached. The one pictured here was with 2 others on milkweed in my backyard. If wood is cut to burn in fireplaces and the larva are present in the wood, they will emerge as adults in your home sometime prior to burning the wood. They overwinter as pupa, then emerge in the spring as adults.


  1. You seem to get a decent number of bugs on your milkweed. I purchased milkweed seeds once but decided against planting them because I read they can be poisonous and I have two cats and 2 little girls. Oh well!

  2. If you can find a place in your yard where your pets and children can't get to them you should be fine. They are only poisonous if ingested, my dog and cats never bother them. Mine self-seeded somehow. Now they are spreading, and I have numerous insects that use them for food or for resting points.

  3. Do these Ash Borers affect trees like the Emerald Ash Borer does?