yellow striped long horned beetle
Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 5:02 PM
i found this in Northern VT it is a long horned beetle of some kind, but its yellow striped pattern doesn’t look like any i know.
Ryan
Northern VT

Sugar Maple Borer

Sugar Maple Borer

Dear Ryan,
We have countless chores to do today, like painting window frames and cleaning the garage, but we succumbed to the temptation to post just one more letter this morning.  We are thrilled that we chose to open your letter as this is only the second image of a Sugar Maple Borer, Glycobius speciosus, we have posted in the 9 years we have been taking identification requests online.  That image, submitted in July 2005 was of a smashed specimenBugGuide has very little specific information other than:  “Range Northeastern North America Habitat Deciduous forests with hostplant (sugar maples). Season June-August
Life Cycle Larvae mine under bark of Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum .”  BugGuide also has six photos representing four different sightings.  This would indicate that the Sugar Maple Borer is not a common insect.  Because the host tree is of economic importance, the USDA has a web page devoted to the control of the Sugar Maple Borer.  The USDA describes the life history of the Sugar Maple Borer as “The sugar maple borer has a two-year life cycle. Most eggs are laid in midsummer in roughened bark locations-in cracks, under bark scales, or around wounds. Upon hatching, the larva makes a meandering mine beneath the bark. Mining continues until early fall when it excavates a shallow cell in the sapwood. Here it spends the winter. The following spring, the larva resumes mining, etching a deep groove in the sapwood. The mine partially encircles the bole or branch as it spirals upward. With the coming of winter, the second-year larva bores a J-shaped tunnel deep into the wood (Figure 1). In the tunnel’s far end, the larva forms a chamber for overwintering. Before spring pupation, the larva chews a hole to the outside through which it will emerge as an adult in June or July. ”  We are also quite happy that the website indicates that control has to do with eliminating unhealthy trees and proper tree pruning and watering when the trees are decorative and NOT pesticides.  Kudos to the USDA on that. ForestPests.org indicates:  “Eggs are deposited in bark crevices, under bark scales, or around wounds, usually during July and August. The larvae feed beneath the bark. The insect spends the winter as a larvae in a chamber formed in the sapwood. The following spring, it resumes feeding. As the second winter approaches, the mature larvae bores deep into the wood and constructs a pupal cell. Before entering the cell, the larvae cuts an exit hole through which it will emerge as an adult in the spring. The adult is a robust, velvety-black beetle about an inch long. Its head is covered with fine, yellow hairs. Its back is marked with several yellow bands, those near the front forming a characteristic w-shaped design. The life cycle requires 2 years. ”  Here at What’s That Bug? we have major issues with the classification of “pest” when in fact this beautiful native insect has survived for 1000s of years, and it has an important niche in the health of a forest, which includes the necessary removal of old growth.  Congratulations of your wonderful sighting and thanks so much for sending your photos to our humble website.

Sugar Maple Borer

Sugar Maple Borer

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