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Australian Pest Control Association
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Week 4 - Day 20 - Timber Borers


Urban Pest Management in Australia: 2004 Edition, UNSW Press, Sydney

by J Gerozisis and P Hadlington - Chapter 18 - Pages 205 to 220.

Chapter 18 – Borers - pests of living trees and fresh logs - wood moths - economic significance - biology and species - treatment - wood wasps - economic significance - biology and species - treatment - greenwood longicorns - economic significance - biology and species - treatment - jewel beetles - economic significance - biology and species - treatment - weevils - economic significance - biology and species - treatment - ambrosia beetles - economic significance - biology and species - treatment - bark beetles - economic significance - biology and species - treatment - pests of moist and partly dry wood - augur beetles - economic significance - biology and species - treatment - pests of dry seasoned wood - powderpost beetles - economic significance - biology and species - treatment - furniture beetle - economic significance - biology and species - treatments - queensland pine beetle - economic significance - biology and species - treatment - European house borer - economic significance - biology and species - treatment - two-tooth longicorn - economic significance - biology and species - treatment - control of bark and wood insect pests - yellowhorned clerid - whitebanded clerid - parasitic wasps - straw itch mite - sapstain - black cockatoos - non-chemical methods of control - heat - freezing - submergence in water - radiation

Timber Borers can be conveniently divided into three major categories: Bark & Wood Damaging Insects; Insect Pests of Moist Wood and Insect Pests of Dry Wood.

Bark & Wood Damaging Insects
Insects, which damage the conductive tissue of the tree, namely the phloem-cambium region, generally fall into the Orders Coleoptera and Lepidoptera.  The larval stages of insects belonging to these orders are the destructive stages, having mandibulate mouthparts and spending part, if not the entire life cycle, in the conductive tissue.  When present in large numbers these insects may completely destroy the phloem-cambium region, killing the tree by virtually ringbarking it.  Usually other insects must debilitate a tree before these pests of the conductive tissue can gain entry.  Injury by fire, cultivating instruments, or in fact any mechanical means, makes a tree susceptible to attack by these pests.


Longicorn beetles are characterised by their long flowing antennae, elongated body and eyes which are kidney-shaped and partly surround the bases of the antennae.  They lay their eggs in the injured sections of the tree and the young larvae, which hatch feed in the conductive tissue.  This contains carbohydrate material.  When fully fed, the larvae penetrate the sapwood to pupate.  While in the sapwood they are protected from birds and most predatory and parasitic insects.  When they have changed to the adult stage they core their way out through the bark leaving an oval hole, and commence the life cycle again. There are a number of species of longicorns, some of them showing host specificity.  The yellow longicorn, (Phoracantha recurve) which attacks a variety of Eucalyptus spp., is perhaps the most abundant species along the coast of N.S.W. Although differences exist in the habits of the various species, they are all essentially phloem-cambium feeders.  Some of them spend very little time in the phloem- cambium area, moving to the centre part of branches and main stems early in their larval life. The damage by longicorns is often noticed in structural timbers, particularly when used for studs.  The insects which were originally present in the timber in the pupal or late larval stage, emerge through plaster walls, making oval holes about 6 mm across the long axis.  Such damage usually occurs within 1-6 months of the erection of the house and involves no structural weakness to the timbers beneath the plaster.  It is usually only necessary to repair the holes after emergence of all the beetles has taken place.

Jewel beetles
Several jewel beetles attack trees, which have been damaged by fire or other mechanical means.  The larvae are active in the phloem-cambium region until they are finished feeding and then move into the sapwood to pupate.  The channels are similar to those of longicorns except the frass is more tightly packed and the channels are narrower than those of longicorns.  They emerge through oval holes in a similar way to longicorns. The species most commonly encountered by the pest control operator is the cypress pine jewel beetle.  There are two species, the small cypress pine jewel beetle, (Diadoxus erythrurus) measuring about 12-18 mm in length, and the cypress pine jewel beetle, (Diadoxus scalaris) which is about 18-25 mm in length.  Evidence of attack usually follows large fires in cypress pine areas when the damaged timber is sawn and marketed.  When attack by cypress pine jewel beetles is noticed in weatherboards or flooring no treatment is required.  Usually jewel beetles emerge from the timber 1-6 months after being placed in service.

Bark beetles
Bark beetles are small insects measuring 3-6 mm in length, feeding in the phloem-cambium region.  They etch the sapwood, in some cases quite deeply but fortunately very few of them attack ornamental trees.  The cypress bark beetle, (Phloeosinus cupressi) and the black pine bark beetle (Hylastes ater) are the most common species in Australia.  They attack ornamental cypresses and pencil pines, causing their death unless controlled early in their development life.

Some weevils, which attack wood in the forest, work initially in the phloem-cambium and then complete their larval development in the wood such damage is usually characterised by the tightly packed frass, which breaks off in pieces.  Weevil workings are always round and invariably occur in moist wood.

The express bark weevil Aesiotes leucurus that measures 12-18 mm in length, is a pest of the phloem-cambium region of ornamental cypresses and pencil pines.  It attacks trees, which have been injured or debilitated through growing close to other trees of the same species and competing for soil. Nutrients in the same area.  The eggs are laid in the bark and the young larvae feed in the phloem-cambium region until they are fully fed, when they construct a small chamber immediately beneath the bark.  This chamber is lined with strips of wood and when pupation is complete the weevil emerges by cutting a round hole about 6 mm in diameter.

Anobiid bark beetles
The pine bark anobiid (Ernobius mollis) is the most commonly occurring anobiid bark beetle present in Australia.  It attacks trees, which are dying, or those, which have been ringbarked.  The beetles work in the phloem-cambium region while the bark is intact.  As attack progresses they will excavate the sapwood to a depth of up to 6mm.  When flooring is placed in service, round emergence holes caused by anobiid beetles may appear in linoleum or other covers.  When infested Pinus radiata (Monterey pine) is made into door or other joinery timbers and bark is left on the internal core, these beetles will emerge through a polished veneer surface.

Bostrychids attack moist sapwood containing starch but it is not uncommon to find dying branches of eucalypts and other trees containing starch in the sapwood attacked by the bostrychids.  They bore round holes through the bark into the sapwood.  The eggs are laid in the woody tissue and the larvae develop in the moist wood.


This Order contains the wood moths, the larvae of which feed in the phloem-cambium during the early part of their life, entering the sapwood and sometimes the heartwood for pupation.  The wood moths fall naturally into two groups. the cossid type and the xyloryctid type.  These represent insects belonging to the families Cossidae and Xyloryctidae, differing both in habits and structure of the larvae and adults.
Cossid type
These are characterised by large excavations of the phloem-cambium leading to a hole, which penetrates the sapwood or heartwood in either an upward or downward direction. Xyleutes encalypti, the wattle goat moth, attacks Acacia spp. and constructs its pupation channel in an upward direction to prevent water entering and drowning it while in the pupal stage. Xyleutes macleayi, another large species of wood moth, attacks Eucalyptus spp., in a similar way to Xyleutes encalypti in wattles.  The Australian goat moth, a smaller species, attacks ornamental trees such as sugar gums and angophoras, completely excavating the phloem-cambium region of a tree.  They enter the sapwood to pupate and emerge later as mottled-grey moths.
Xyloryctid type
These are characterised by constructing over their workings in the phloem-cambium region a mat of chewed-up wood and web material.  This prevents the access of water to a channel they construct in the woody tissue of the tree.  Species of this group commonly attack fruit trees and gum trees.

Wood wasp Sirex noctilio
Since 1952 it has been established that Sirex is present in Victoria, particularly around Port Phillip Bay area.  It has now spread to southern N.S.W.  Sirex attacks trees by inserting its ovipositor to some depth in the wood and depositing one or perhaps two eggs at each oviposition puncture.  A fungus is inoculated into the wood with the eggs and the mycelial growths from this fungus spread through the wood and block up the conductive tissue or xylem vessels.  The tree does not die from a mechanical injury caused by the insect larvae, but from the mass of mycelial growth, which prevents the translocation of water and mineral salts up the tree. Sirex larvae feed on the fungus-attacked wood and when finished feeding they pupate and emerge as wasps.


Insects, which attack moist wood, are not always serious pests although some of them will continue their activity after the timber has dried.  It is important that the various groups of insects, which attack moist wood, be recognised by their damage, immature and mature forms.  Insect pests of moist wood are conveniently divided into five main groups:-

  1. Ambrosia beetles.
  2. Bostrychid wood borers.
  3. Jewel beetles.
  4. Longicorns.
  5. Weevils.

Ambrosia beetles or pinhole borers
Insects belonging to the family Platypodidae are characterised by having a well-marked head, thorax and abdomen region when viewed from above, an elongate body and the tarsi of the legs are quite long, usually longer than the tibial segment.  The family Scolytidae contains shorter beetles, having their head concealed beneath the prothorax and the tarsi are smaller than the tibial segments.  The Platypodidae invariably stain the timber while many species of the Scolytidae do not leave stains.  However, the habits are similar and they can be considered together. There are two main groups of Ambrosia beetles belonging to two different families.
Economic importance
Pin hole borer attack in furniture timbers, while not adversely affecting the strength or service life of the article, does affect its appearance and it is conceivable that sales suffer from the mere presence of borer holes even when these are located on the interior part of the manufactured article. Foreign timbers, particularly those from the Pacific Islands, show attack by ambrosia beetles.  Pacific Maple used for various joinery purposes such as architraves, doors, sills, etc., frequently shows attack by a pinhole borer which does not stain the wood.  This damage may be confused with that of Lyctus (powder post beetles) and has frequently affected subsequent sales of this timber.  Other timbers from Malaya, New Guinea, etc., show attack by pinholes borers of the Platypodidae type in which case staining is prevalent. Since this insect is dependent on moisture in the wood, dry wood is not attacked nor is attack sustained during its service life.  There are rare instances, such as timber used for wine casks or water tanks, where pin hole borer attack may continue, particularly when the timber is constantly wet.  The holes persist in dry timber but this should be no deterrent to its various useful purposes.
The Platypodids and Scolytids are small insects, measuring from 1.5 mm to about 6 mm in length.  The beetles may be elongate or cylindrical, depending on the family to which they belong.  Platypodids are elongate and Scolytids shorter and cylindrical.  The larvae are legless grubs, having a scroll on the dorsal surface of the first thoracic segment.  The pupae are typical beetle pupae and located deep in the timber, usually in specially excavated chambers.
Habits and life cycle
The female beetle bores into the timber to some depth, carrying with it spores of a fungus which are left on the inside surfaces of the tunnellings.  In the presence of moisture the fungal spores develop and fill the passageway made by the female with mycelial growth (like cotton wool).  The male is usually located in the same tunnel as the female, mating occurring outside the tunnel.  Frequently both male and female die in the tunnel, blocking it against entry by predatory and parasitic insects.
The eggs are deposited near the end of the tunnel and the young larvae which hatch feed on the fungus growing on the internal walls.  The larval stage usually lasts from one to four months, depending on the species and when fully fed the larvae pupate at the end of the parent gallery.  They emerge from the original hole and commence the life cycle again.  As the wood dries the fungus can no longer grow and the insects die or leave the tunnel.

Bostrychid wood- borers

These insects attack timber whose moisture content is high, usually between that required for pin hole borer and powder post beetle infestation.  They attack only the sapwood and although infestation may have occurred in moist timber they are able to continue their activity in timber which has dried.  However, they are not able to reinfest dry seasoned timber.  Therefore one generation only is possible, as drying out takes from six weeks to six months after felling and the life cycle from egg to adult usually takes 6-9 months.
Economic importance
Bostrychids attack only the sapwood containing starch and will reduce this to dust provided the infestation is heavy enough.  Attack is common in case timber, logs or poles, mine timbers (pit props), etc.  In some cases where the moisture content is high, such as in mines, bostrychids will attack until the timber is destroyed; This may involve several generations of insects.  When bostrychids emerge from hardwood bearers in newly erected houses or new additions to homes they may cut out through flooring so that it appears as if the flooring is being attacked.  This often happens in the case of cypress pine flooring over susceptible hardwood bearers and joists.  When emerging into a room they may bore into soft pine fittings, furniture, sills, etc., but are not able to initiate further attack.
Appearance and habits
Bostrychid beetles, when viewed from above, appear to have only two segments to the body as the head is concealed beneath the prothorax.  The antennae have a three segmented club and are generally folded underneath the prothorax alongside the head.  The prothorax has backwardly projecting spines on the front or anterior section.  The elytra or wing covers are frequently sharply cut away at the end and may bear ornamentations.  The larvae are similar to powder post beetle larvae, being cured and having three pairs of thoracic legs.  There is no large spiracle on the second last abdominal segment. The beetle lays its eggs in cracks and crevices in the wood and also in the holes it drills.  On hatching, the larvae feed on the starchy sapwood and excavate it until it is completely destroyed.  They pupate fairly close to the surface and emerge through round holes.  The beetles are not able to reinfest dry seasoned wood as the larvae require high moisture content during their early developmental stages.  This is not critical later in their larval life as attack is sustained in dry timber for the first generation.
Bostrychids attack the sapwood of most hardwoods and brushwood’s which contain starch.  Such timbers as spotted gum, blue gum, yellow carabeen, white birch, and many others are attacked by bostrychids.  Attack may take place either in the mill yard, or if the timber is used unseasoned, while it is in service in buildings.

Jewel beetles
Jewel beetles attack green trees or freshly felled logs, the larvae working in the phloem-­cambium region and moving into the sapwood to pupate.  Superficially the damage resembles longicorns, the emergence holes being distinctly oval.  When the damage is seen in wood, jewel beetles make characteristic crescent-shaped etchings or markings on the surface of the tunnel.  Longicorn markings, made by their jaws, are straighter and do not have the crescent-shaped appearance.
Jewel beetle larvae work in the phloem-cambium, feeding on the nutritive materials, but some species such as the hoop pine jewel beetle enter the sapwood early in their larval life.  Three main types of jewel beetles occur in houses after erection –
Cypress pine jewel beetles

  1. Two species are involved in this group - the cypress pine jewel beetle (Diadoxus scalaris) and the small cypress pine jewel beetle (Diadoxus erythrurus).  When a house is erected these insects may emerge up to six months after the timber has been utilised for flooring or weatherboards.  Sometimes linoleum and other covers are damaged by the emergence of these insects. The beetles of this species are yellow, green and black; dorso-ventrally flattened and have short serrated antennae.  The larvae are characteristically flat-headed, the head resembling that of a cobra snake. Once emergence has taken place, no further trouble occurs, as this insect requires the phloem-cambium region for the initiation of attack and the nutrition of their larvae.
  2. The hoop-pine jewel beetle (Prospheres aurantiopictus).  The hoop pine jewel beetle attacks hoop pine when it is standing in the forest and the beetles may emerge from timber in service up to 20 years after the timber has been utilised.  Hoop pine is frequently used for framing in furniture and doors and infested timber sometimes escapes notice at the mill.  Such timber sustains the larvae of the hoop pine beetle until it is ready to emerge and frequently this occurs through polished surfaces.  Considerable destruction of the timber may occur and furniture is seriously defaced.  Hoop pine may also be used as flooring and in such cases extensive channelling may occur but seldom does collapse result. The beetles are variable in colour.  Some are entirely black while others have orange markings on the elytra or wing covers.  There is no correlation between sex and the variation in coloration.  The beetles measure about 12-18 mm in length and have the characteristic dorso-ventrally flattened body and serrated antennae.  The larvae are characteristic hammer-headed buprestid larvae.
  3. Oregon jewel beetle  (Buprestis aurulenta). Oregon is sometimes damaged by a jewel beetle.  It is not uncommon for these insects to emerge from timber after some 30-40 years of service.  Considerable damage may occur and the appearance of the large oval holes about 6mm across the long axis is somewhat alarming. Buprestis aurulenta is a bright green colour with a small patch of orange on the anterior edge of the thorax.  It usually emerges from timber of some age and control measures are seldom required.  The early stages of attack are seldom detected because its incidence in houses is negligible.


Longicorns (Family-Cerambycidae)
Various longicorn damage has already been discussed.  The larvae of these are pests of the phloem-cambium region but the sapwood may be seriously degraded by the larvae penetrating it to pupate.  When this timber is used in houses the insect may emerge through plaster and other interior wall covers.  The adult is typical of the group, having long flowing antennae, eyes which partly surround the bases of the antennae and a rather elongated body.  They attack a variety of tree species, eucalypts, pines and brush woods.

Weevils (Family - Curculionidae)
Some weevils attack debilitated trees and dead trees.  Aesiotes leucurus, the cypress bark weevil, which attacks Cupressus species and various Pinus species, including Pinus radiata works in the phloem-cambium region and excavates the sapwood to a depth of about 6mm when constructing its pupal chamber.  Its damage cannot be confused with that of weevils such as Euthorhynus meditabundusThis insect works in the sapwood and heartwood of debilitated trees.  The holes are perfectly round and packed with mud-like excrete. The weevil has a long proboscis characteristic of most weevils and attacks hoop pine and the various Cupressus species. Control is seldom required, as the timber is usually not seriously affected.



Insect pests of dry wood are important pests of buildings and houses.  Mainly they are pests of the sapwood but insects such as the European house borer, the two-toothed longicorn, and the various species of Anobiids can also penetrate the heartwood.

Longicorns (Family-Cerambycidae)
The species of longicorns dealt with here should not be confused with those which attack the green tree and require the phloem-cambium region for larval development.  In the absence of these tissues the longicorns are unable to complete their development and seldom do the female beetles oviposit in wood not containing bark.  The two dry wood longicorns in Australia are introduced species.

The Two-toothed Longicorn Ambeodontus tristis
This insect has been introduced from New Zealand where it is a pest of flooring and structural timbers.  Control measures are frequently carried out against the two-toothed longicorn in New Zealand. In N.S.W. the two-toothed longicorn is mostly found in the coastal suburbs of Sydney, although instances of attack occur in areas from the sea.  It attacks N.Z. rimu flooring and does not appear to have been found in structural timbers, mainly because N.Z. rimu has not been used extensively for such purposes.  With the greater utilization of pine timbers it is possible that the two-toothed longicorn beetle will increase.  Flooring is often heavily attacked and there appears to be a correlation between the high humidity in this region and the incidence of infestation.
Appearance and life cycle
Ambeodontus tristis beetles vary in size from about 12 to 30 mm.  The size difference appears to be related to the competition within the timber i.e. timber containing few insects yields larger beetles than when the population is high.  The beetle is uniformly red-brown in colour, and typical of most longicorns it has long flowing antennae, elongated body, eyes which are kidney-shaped and partly surround the bases of the antennae and lateral and dorsal spines on the thorax.  The larva is characteristic of all longicorn larvae, having a broad thoracic region tapering to the terminal section.  The head capsule is small and distinct and the larva is legless. The female beetle lays her eggs in cracks and crevices in the wood and the young larvae on hatching develop mainly in the sapwood.  Later in life the larvae are able to penetrate the heartwood and it is not uncommon to see this area also completely destroyed.  They pupate close to the surface and emerge through oval holes about 6 to 7.5 mm across the long axis.  The life cycle involving the egg, larva, pupa and adult, is completed in two to four years, although under favourable conditions it is possible that a one-year life cycle will occur. The two-toothed longicorn attacks mainly New Zealand rimu in Australia, but attack may also occur in various pine timbers such as Pinus radiata.
The European House Borer             Hylotrupes bajulus
Although this insect has occurred in Melbourne, Cooma, and Sydney it only appears to be firmly established in some parts of Queensland.  This is partly due to the fact that, in every instance, fumigation of the entire structure or dwelling has been carried out. It is a pest of structural pine timbers in Europe, Great Britain and Scandinavian countries, where it attacks until the timber is reduced to powder.  In South Africa, where the insect was introduced around 1930, it has spread over many coastal areas.  It does not appear to do well or be able to establish itself in the more inland regions of South Africa.  In such areas as Port Elizabeth, the insect is able to complete its life cycle in a shorter time than in Europe and, as a result, structures have collapsed, necessitating legislation, which requires pine timbers to be treated before being used for buildings.
Appearance and life cycle
The beetle is dark brown, having four small white patches on the elytra or wing covers.  The eyes partly surround the bases of the antennae but while the antennae are typical of most longicorns they are not long and flowing as in Ambeodontus.  The beetle measures from 12 to 25mm in length, depending on its food during the larval stage.  The larva is a typical longicorn, measuring up to 30 mm in length. The female lays her eggs in cracks and crevices in the timber and the larvae on hatching eat into and destroy the sapwood.  Usually attack is restricted to the sapwood but the heartwood may be destroyed when the numbers of larvae are large.  They pupate close to the surface and the beetles emerge through oval holes about 6 to 7.5 mm across the long axis.  The life cycle usually takes from 2 - 11 years, depending on the region of occurrence.  For instance, in Northern Europe the life cycle is generally completed in 5-11 years, but in South Africa the period is only 1 - 3 years.  This shorter life cycle is attributed to warmer temperatures and higher humidity’s. Hylotrupes bajulus attacks Pinus spp. e.g. Monterey pine, Ables spp. and Pseudotsuga spp. e.g. Oregon, but it has not been recorded attacking Araucaria spp. or Podocarpus spp. e.g. N.Z. white pine.  The European house borer does not affect Eucalypts and most pored timbers.
Since the European house borer is apparently not established in most parts of Australia, reports of infestation should be passed on to the relevant State Government authority or to AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service)  In this way an accurate identification of the insect causal agent can be made and the appropriate control measures taken in accordance with government requirements.


Beetles belonging to the family Lyctidae are commonly known as powder post beetles.  There are several species, all having similar habits and attacking the same types of timber.  The most common species in Australia is Lyctus brunneus but Lyctus discedens also occurs to some extent.  The separation of these two species requires the assistance of a specialist entomologist.
 Economic importance
Lyctids attack the seasoned sapwood of certain susceptible timbers.  This sapwood must contain. Starch in sufficient amounts to permit the young larvae to feed and complete their development.  Certain timbers such as Blackbutt do not have sufficient starch to allow infestation and are therefore resistant to the powder post beetles.  The heartwood is devoid of starch, being composed of dead cells, and is therefore not attacked under any circumstance by powder post beetles.  The beetles may emerge through the heartwood but it is not destroyed by their activity. Pine timbers i.e. non-pored woods, are not attacked by the powder post beetles and are considered to be immune.  Hardwoods (eucalypts, brushwood’s and other pored woods) when they contain starch in the sapwood may be attacked by the powder post beetles.  The starch content is an extremely variable factor and some tree species which are considered highly susceptible may at times contain very little or no starch in the sapwood and remain un-attacked by powder post beetles during their service life. Powder post beetle attack occurs in wood, which has between approx. 8% and 25% moisture content.  The equilibrium moisture content of timber in service is somewhere between 12% and 16% and varies within small limits with the atmospheric moisture content.  For instance, timber in service in the western districts of N.S.W., Queensland and Victoria, would have lower moisture content than the same species on the coast. When attack occurs in small dimensional pieces of timber such as those found in tiling battens, ceiling battens, various pieces of furniture and joinery timbers, the sapwood may be so extensive that almost complete destruction occurs.  In large dimensional pieces of timber such as rafters and noggings and practically any structural timber, the sapwood is usually only of small extent and its destruction would not adversely affect the strength of that particular member and subsequently the condition of the building. Various acts of State Government eg.  Timber Marketing Act (NSW) and the Timber Users Protection Act (QLD) control the use of Lyctus susceptible timber.  These Acts limit the-use of Lyctus susceptible sapwood inasmuch as it constitutes a breach to use susceptible timber for furniture, flooring and for other joinery purposes.  They allow 25% of the perimeter of certain structural timbers to be composed of susceptible sapwood because it is realised that, if 25% of the members was destroyed the strength would not be adversely affected.
Appearance and life cycle
The beetle varies in size from 3 to 6mm in length, is somewhat flattened and has its body divided into a distinct head, thorax and abdomen.  The beetles are a dark red-brown colour and are characterised by having a two­segmented antennal club.  The antennae are short and often folded beneath the head when the- beetle is disturbed or at rest.  The larvae when fully fed vary from 3 to 6 mm length and are curved.  During the first four to five days after hatching they are not curved but later develop this characteristic.  They are cream or white in colour and are characterised by having the spiracles on the second last segment of the abdomen enlarged.  This feature is used to separate them from the larvae of Anobium punctatum (furniture beetle). The female beetle lays between 30 and 150 eggs, these being deposited in the end pores only of susceptible sapwood.  The pores of the timber must be of sufficient size to accommodate the ovipositor (egg laying apparatus) of the female.  There are timbers such as coachwood, which are considered to be resistant because their pores are too small to allow the entry of the ovipositor.  Tracheids in pines are too small to allow the entry of the ovipositor and for this reason all pines are considered to be immune to attack.  The larvae on hatching bore parallel with the timber, feeding only in the sapwood.  Their main food is starch, which occurs in granules in this outer area of the wood.  While their channels are mostly longitudinal with the grain of the timber they sometimes move transversely.  The holes are packed with dust or frass, which is fine and flour-like and can hardly be felt when rubbed between the fingers.  When fully fed the larvae come close to the surface of the wood and pupate.  In this way they have only a short distance to emerge from the timber.  They emerge through round holes about 1.5 mm in diameter.  The beetles mate outside the timber and are active mainly at night, concealing themselves beneath pieces of timber or in old flight holes during the day. The life cycle occupies between 3 - 18 months, but mostly it is completed within 6 - 12 months in the coastal areas around Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

The Furniture Beetle            Anobium punctatum
This species of beetle appears to have had its origin in Europe but is now widely spread throughout the world.  It was probably introduced into Australia in antique furniture or timber.  It is prevalent along the eastern coast of Australia but does not appear to occur inland.  Its distribution is affected by the relative humidity, which determines the equilibrium moisture content of timber.  West of Lithgow in N.S.W. the incidence of furniture beetle infestation is low.  Most of the western districts of the eastern States are completely free of furniture beetle infestations. The furniture beetle prefers pine woods, mainly Pinus radiata, Pinus elliottii, Araucaria cunninghamii and various species of PodocarpusOregon is attacked but it is seldom attacked to the extent that its structure is completely destroyed as in the case of Pinus spp.  The resin bands in Oregon appear to deter the infestation, which is confined to the softer regions.  Pored timbers are also attacked but less frequently than the pines.  Spotted gum, for instance, may be attacked but in such cases the infestation is restricted entirely to the sapwood and confusion with powder post beetle infestation should not occur, as the frass or pellets are coarser in the case of Anobium.
While most pored timbers are resistant to attack, it must be realised that Anobium, even though occurring rarely in those timbers, must not be overlooked when identifying the cause of an infestation.  There is no authoritative record of cypress pine being attacked by the furniture beetle. While the furniture beetle prefers the sapwood, it will, however, attack the heartwood but usually this only occurs when the sapwood has been completely eaten away.  Timber cut from young trees appears to be more susceptible than that from older trees. Most of the instances of collapse of flooring and sagged ceilings have been due to infestations of this insect.  This beetle will work in timber until it is completely destroyed.  Sometimes parasites and predators affect the progress of the infestation but usually this occurs after considerable destruction has been done.  It has been noted that timbers of some age beyond, say, 15 years, are mostly attacked and it is presumed that these woods were more susceptible after they had "aged".  Research has indicated that fresh pine is as susceptible as old pine.  The reason why attack is not noticed appears to be due to the longer life cycle of this insect and the avoidance of bringing infested wood into new homes.  After some years the householder seems less reluctant to bring in the antique than he did during the early life of the house.  The removal of resins and other materials in pinewoods does not appear to influence its susceptibility.
Appearance and life cycle
The beetles lay their eggs in cracks and crevices of wood surfaces and in the case of polished or painted timber they lay in abraded surfaces.  The larvae, which hatch work longitudinally with and transversely to the grain of the wood.  When finished feeding the larvae come close to the surface, construct small chambers and pupate.  They emerge through round holes about 1.5 mm in diameter.  Usually these holes appear more abundantly on the under surface of floors and the inner surface of wooden panelling.  The appearance of a few holes on the upper surface of flooring invariably indicates a greater number of flight holes on the under surface.  It is not possible to get a true indication of the severity of attack by merely viewing the upper surface of the flooring. The life cycle in Australia is usually completed in 1 - 3 years, but in Europe and Great Britain the period may be extended to 5 years.  This variability appears to be related to a combination of both temperature and humidity.
Dampwood borer             Hadrobregmus australiensis
This borer attacks many species of timber, both hardwoods and pines which have been previously deteriorated by fungi.  Attack is restricted to the sapwood unless the heartwood has also been deteriorated by fungi.  It is of negligible importance in Australia, but instances of attack may be confused with old bostrychid damage.  Usually homes showing attack by the this borer need, or have at one time needed, ventilation to remedy conditions of high humidity conducive to wood decay.  Its distribution in N.S.W. appears to be restricted to the coastal region, particularly in built-up areas around Sydney.  No record of attack has been reported from other States but it is important to remember that very little work has been done on this insect in Australia and its occurrence may be anticipated anywhere decay has occurred.
Appearance and life cycle

The beetle is dark brown in colour with the head concealed beneath the prothorax in a similar manner to that of the furniture beetle.  It measures about 6-9 mm in length, and lays its eggs in cracks and crevices in the wood.  The larvae resemble those of bostrychids but do not have the enlarged thoracic region. The life cycle appears to take 1 - 3 years, but at this stage very little work has been done on the habits and life cycle of this insect.  The main characteristic of this insect which enables it to be separated from the bostrychids is the darkened appearance of the pupal chambers in the wood.  After some time the dark pupal chambers turn almost black.

The Queensland Pine Beetle            Calymmaderis incisus
The furniture beetle occurs around Sydney and along the North Coast of N.S.W. and into Queensland.  In Queensland, however, it is of lesser importance because its place is taken by the Queensland pine beetle.  The incidence of the Queensland pine beetle becomes greater as one proceeds north from Kempsey.  It is not known to occur in Sydney, although it is possible that, even if it were present, the damage may be attributed to that of the furniture beetle.  The dust and workings are similar and it attacks the same types of timbers.  Its attack is confined to the sapwood, although some instances exist where the heartwood is affected.
Appearance and life cycle
The beetles are oval and shiny brown and the prothorax which conceals the head is not so pointed as that of the furniture beetle.  The beetle measures about to 3 to 4.5 mm in length.  The beetles have a three-segmented antennal club and the larvae closely resemble those of the furniture beetle. The life cycle is approximately the same as that of the furniture beetle, being 1 - 3 years, the shorter period being the usual in Queensland.  The separation of the damage from that of the furniture beetle requires the assistance of a specialist and should be referred to a State Government entomologist if identification is required. While most instances of furniture beetle attack are attributed to Anobium punctatum, some instances are due to other species such as Nicobium castaneum and other species in this genus.  Here again it is necessary to refer the damage to an entomologist for confirmation of such suspected occurrences.  The habits and distribution of these insects are similar to that of the furniture beetle but differ in appearance of the damage.

Miscellaneous Wood Borers
Sometimes wood is damaged in situ by insects which normally attack foodstuffs or decaying animal or vegetable matter.  Usually such instances of infestation are close to storage or handling facilities for food products.  Mostly the damage is due to the larval stages seeking a place to pupate.  The skin and hide beetles (Dermestids) frequently seek out soft Oregon or pine timbers in which to pupate.  The pupal period often lasts many months, and the active insects may emerge some months after the larvae have entered. Another pest with similar habits is the sawfly (order Hymenoptera), the larvae of which may leave the host tree and bore into timber of nearby buildings. Other insects, which affect timber, are the grain weevils, the cadelle (a grain pest), the yellow mealworm and the flour beetles.  These may attack timbers of the structure in which the grain is stored, or pupate in the timber, which frequently composes the containers. These insects are considered secondary pests but their damage must not be confused with that of the primary wood borers whose larvae are capable of destroying completely the structure of wood.  However, it must not be overlooked that these insects, when present in large numbers, can seriously degrade wood and in some cases affect its service life in structures.

The best-known group of marine borers is that which includes those molluscan borers known as "shipworms," or Teredo.  This is a bivalve mollusc of worm-like appearance, which is of considerable importance in many seaports as a destroyer of wooden-hulled ships and wooden harbour installations. The female Teredo produces large numbers of free-swimming larvae, which actively swim about in search of wood.  As burrowing proceeds, the gallery is lined with a calcareous material. The "shipworm" can attain a length of 45 cms or so and its burrow can be up to 25 mm in diameter.  The only external signs of damage are small openings made by the larvae as they burrowed in.  Two siphons emerge from these holes allowing for the passage of sea water.  At the other end of the burrow, two small shells rasp away the wood.  Teredo feed on a combination of cellulose and planktonic organisms. Another important group of marine borers belongs to the Crustacean order Isopods.  This is a large group comprising approximately 4,000 species most of which are marine.  The marine borers, which attack docks and pilings, are very similar in appearance to their terrestrial relatives ­the slaters and measure approximately 3 mm in length. The Isopod borers can be found in large numbers boring into the timber surface, the gallery first running obliquely and then parallel to the timber surface.  As they burrow they periodically construct "manholes" giving access to fresh seawater.  When the outer 10 mm or so of timber has been completely honeycombed, it is broken away by wave action and subsequent tunnelling commences in the next 10 mm layer.  A male and female can be found in each gallery but only the female does the burrowing.  Another crustacean borer belonging to the group Amphipoda inhabits these burrows, both species living together in an association of mutual benefit.  Attack by these crustaceans can seriously affect pilings often causing them to develop the characteristic "hour glass" appearance.

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