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Cottonwood Borer


Common Names: Cottonwood Borer, Long-Horned Borer

Scientific Name: Order Coleoptera, family Cerambycidae, Plectrodera scalator

Size: Adult--1 1/4", larva--1 1/2"

Identification: Large black and white beetle with distinctive markings and long antennae, often referred to as horns.

Biology and Life Cycle: In mid-summer female adults gnaw holes in the base of trees to deposit eggs which hatch in about three weeks. The larvae then bore into the bark and into a major root by fall. Larvae can live up to twenty years in seasoned wood.

Habitat: Cottonwoods, poplars, willows, and other soft-wooded trees.

Feeding Habits: Adults feed on nectar, pollen, bark, leaves, sap, fruit, roots, and fungi. They sometimes eat tender shoots of young trees, causing them to die. Larvae bore and feed inside trees.

Economic Importance: Destruction of fast-growing trees. Help fallen trees decompose in the forest.

Natural Control: Maintain healthy soil and stress-free plants. Birds, lizards, and bats.

Organic Control: Avoid planting fast-growing, soft-wooded trees.

Insight: Be careful--they can bite. Not poisonous, but painful.

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