Boring Wood Loving Beetles

August 28, 2015

Here at the TREE Center, we love campfires. We build campfires throughout any season. So it makes sense that we go through a lot of wood each year. This wood comes from various places, but our most recent deposit of wood came from a white pine tree that fell this past winter, a common tree in southern Maine. We hadn’t begun to use that pile of firewood yet, but yesterday I was passing by when I heard a creaking sound.

My curiosity got the best of me and I went to investigate. I heard this creaking sound like you hear when a tree is bending in the wind or when wood scrapes against another rough surface. I kept trying to figure out what it was when I noticed small piles of sawdust lying on many of the pine logs. I suddenly knew there were some boring insects feasting on our woodpile.

Beetles make up the vast majority of wood boring insects. They are actually quite vital to a forest ecosystem. They act as decomposers, allowing nutrients to be cycled back into the soil system and they also speed up the decay process of already weak trees, thus allowing for new growth to occur. One such beetle is the Large Flathead Pine Heartwood Borer Beetle.  However, there are some wood boring beetles that are invasive species such as the Asian Longhorn Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle, which attack healthy living trees.

Although I never actually saw any of the beetles, I can only hope that none of the invasive beetles are feasting on our campfire wood. With any luck, these beetles are those boring old native New England beetles.