Flying insects that drill holes into trees

Written by lee morgan
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Flying insects that drill holes into trees
Those little holes in your trees may be caused by wood boring insects. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Insects are able to do damage to wood in a number of ways. Termites, for example, eat wood and have the ability to destroy a home over time. Other insects bore holes in wood, often in living trees, causing damage to the trees that will ultimately kill them. There is a good chance that any seemingly perfect round holes in your trees or your home were made by one of a few drilling insects.

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Powderpost Beetles

Powderpost beetles get their name because during the larval stage the beetle grinds wood into fine powdery sawdust. The adult beetle then bores its way out of the hole in the wood to go about its life in a later stage. Powderpost beetles tend to infest wood that is less than five years old. They are usually associated with untreated lumber infestation, but they are also present in trees. Bamboo and tropical trees are especially prone to powderpost infestation.

Drugstore Beetle

The drugstore beetle is a destructive insect that will eat nearly anything in its pathm and trees are no exception. The drugstore beetle, named because of its appetite for prescription drugs, will bore holes in trees and eat many other materials including books, spices, hair and even lead. They are a particular nuisance in the packaged food industry.

This uniformly brown, very small beetle is found in warmer regions and often found in heated structures worldwide, according to the University of Florida Extension website.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees feed on pollen and nectar like most other species of bees. Contrary to popular belief, they are not wood eaters. These bees get their name from their ability to bore into trees and other wood surfaces, leaving aesthetic damage but typically not significant structural damage to a wooden building. But if bees continue to excavate the same wood over several generations the damage can be severe.

There are several species of carpenter bees with the largest ones -- growing to around an inch in length -- living primarily in the eastern United States. Smaller varieties of the bee live in the western portion of the continent. They resemble bumblebees but have black abdomens instead of the bright yellow hairy abdomen found on the bumblebee. Females bore tunnels in wood using their jaws to create nests. This is a time-consuming process that results in only an inch of tunnel for every six days of work.

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