Bumelia Borer 101: A Quick Guide to This Intriguing Insect

The Bumelia Borer is a type of insect that poses a significant threat to various tree species. These pests are known for the damage they cause to trees by boring into their trunks, branches, and roots.

Gaining knowledge about the Bumelia Borer can help in identifying, preventing, and managing infestations in a timely and efficient manner.

As a wood-boring insect, the Bumelia Borer typically targets trees that are weak, drought-stricken, or diseased.

Some common signs of Bumelia Borer damage include holes in the bark, frass, or sawdust-like material around the affected area.

Keeping trees healthy and monitoring for early signs of infestation can save trees from destructive decay and even death caused by these pests.

Bumelia Borer Basics

Origin and Identification

Bumelia Borer, scientifically known as Plinthocoelium suaveolens, is a type of beetle from the family Cerambycidae and order Coleoptera.

These beetles are commonly found infesting trees, particularly bumelia trees.

Size and Range

  • Adult Bumelia Borer beetles typically measure around 1 inch in length.
  • They have a notable range across the Southern United States, especially in Texas and Florida ¹.

Life Cycle

Bumelia Borer’s life cycle consists of the following stages:

  1. Eggs: Female beetles lay eggs on the bark of host trees.
  2. Larvae: Once hatched, the larvae bore into the tree, creating tunnels and feeding on the wood.
  3. Pupae: After several months to a year, the larvae pupate inside the tree.
  4. Adults: The adult beetles emerge from the pupae and exit the tree, starting the cycle anew.

Comparing Bumelia Borer to other common tree borers:

Borer Type Size (Length) Common Host Trees Distribution
Bumelia Borer ~1 inch Bumelia trees Southern United States
Emerald Ash Borer 3/8″-1/2″ Ash trees Central and Eastern U.S., Canada
Old House Borer 5/8″-1″ Softwood trees United States
Bronze Birch Borer 1/4″-1/2″ Birch trees North America

By understanding the basics of the Bumelia Borer, you’ll be better prepared to identify and manage them in order to protect your trees from damage.

Mating Bumelia Borers

Habitat and Host Trees

Preferred Tree Species

The Bumelia Borer mainly prefers trees like:

  • Tupelo (Nyssa species)
  • Mulberry (Morus species)
  • Oak tree
  • Hickory
  • Gum Bully (Sideroxylon species)
  • Fir

These tree species provide a suitable habitat for the Bumelia Borer because of their sap, which provides nourishment for the insect.

Distribution in North America

The Bumelia Borer is primarily found in xeric habitats in North America. Some characteristics of xeric habitats include:

  • Low rainfall
  • Drought conditions
  • Limited water availability

In North America, the Bumelia Borer can be found across a wide range of states and provinces, making its presence a concern for tree health in the region.

Behavior and Impact

Feeding Habits

The Bumelia Borer, belonging to the Cerambycidae family, has distinct feeding habits. For instance:

  • Adults: They primarily feed on the leaves of host trees.
  • Larvae: They are known as trunk or root borers, tunneling into the wood of host trees.

Damage to Trees

Bumelia Borers can cause significant damage to trees:

  • Trunk damage: Larvae bore into the trunk, causing structural instability.
  • Root damage: Root borers weaken the tree’s ability to absorb nutrients and water.

As a result, infested trees may appear stressed, with wilting leaves and reduced overall growth. In some cases, severe infestations can lead to tree death.

Comparison Table: Bumelia Borer vs Other Borers

Borers Colors Family Target Damage Level
Bumelia Borer Orange Cerambycidae Trunk & Roots High
Net Borer Brown Cerambycidae Roots Moderate
Pine Borer Black-White Buprestidae Bark & Outer Trunk Low

Distribution in Southern U.S.

Florida and Georgia

The Bumelia Borer, a type of longhorn beetle, can be found in the southern states of the U.S., including Florida and Georgia. This insect primarily feeds on the gum bumelia tree, a native plant in these regions.

  • Found in: Florida and Georgia
  • Feeds on: Gum Bumelia

Arizona and New Mexico

Similarly, the Bumelia Borer is also present in Arizona and New Mexico. These states provide suitable habitats and host plants, such as gum bumelia, for the insect to thrive.

  • Found in: Arizona and New Mexico
  • Feeds on: Gum Bumelia

Comparison Table:

State Presence Host Plant
Florida Yes Gum Bumelia
Georgia Yes Gum Bumelia
Arizona Yes Gum Bumelia
New Mexico Yes Gum Bumelia

Management and Control of Bumelia Borer Infestations

Dealing with Bumelia Borer infestations requires a combination of preventive measures and active interventions.

These pests can cause significant damage to trees, but with the right strategies, their impact can be minimized. Here’s a guide to managing and controlling Bumelia Borer infestations:

Regular Monitoring:

  • Tree Inspection: Regularly inspect trees for signs of Bumelia Borer damage, such as holes in the bark, frass, or sawdust-like material around the affected area.
  • Traps: Use pheromone traps or UV light traps to monitor adult Bumelia Borer activity. These traps can help detect the presence of borers early on.

Cultural Control:

  • Tree Health: Maintain the health of your trees. Healthy trees are less susceptible to Bumelia Borer attacks. Ensure they receive adequate water, especially during dry periods, and fertilize them as needed.
  • Pruning: Remove and destroy infested branches to reduce the borer population and prevent further spread.

Chemical Control:

  • Insecticides: Apply insecticides to the bark of trees during periods when adult borers are active. This can help prevent females from laying eggs and can kill emerging adults. Always follow label instructions and consult with local agricultural extensions for recommended products.
  • Systemic Treatments: These are insecticides that are absorbed by the tree and can kill borers feeding within. They can be applied as soil drenches or trunk injections.

Biological Control:

  • Natural Predators: Birds, certain wasp species, and other insects can prey on Bumelia Borers. Encourage these natural predators by providing habitats or avoiding broad-spectrum insecticides that might harm them.
  • Nematodes: Beneficial nematodes can be introduced to the soil around affected trees. These microscopic worms can infect and kill Bumelia Borer larvae.

Physical Control:

  • Tree Wraps: Wrapping the base of young trees with a protective material can prevent female borers from laying eggs on the trunk.
  • Barrier Paints: These can be applied to wounds or pruned areas of trees to deter egg-laying.

Community Cooperation:

  • If Bumelia Borer infestations are a widespread problem in your community, consider working with neighbors and local organizations. Coordinated efforts can be more effective in managing and reducing borer populations.

Stay Informed:

  • Pest management recommendations can change as new research becomes available. Stay updated by consulting with local agricultural extensions, universities, or professional arborists.

Bumelia Borer

Appreciating the Beauty and Uniqueness

The Bumelia Borer is a unique and fascinating insect. It is known for its distinctive appearance, making it a beautiful addition to the world of insects.

The beauty of this creature lies in its intricate markings and vibrant colors, which enthrall both casual observers and insect enthusiasts alike.

Bumelia Borers play a crucial role in nature by inhabiting and feeding on the bark of trees, specifically those belonging to the Bumelia genus.

When considering the beauty and uniqueness of the Bumelia Borer, it is essential to remember that its presence also has implications for the trees it inhabits.

Some may view the insect as harmful due to its bark consumption.

However, this interaction is a necessary part of the natural order and offers an opportunity to appreciate the complex relationships in nature.

Comparing the Bumelia Borer to other insects, one can easily see that its distinct markings and color patterns set it apart, further highlighting its fascinating beauty.

Conclusion

The Bumelia Borer, a distinctive beetle from the Cerambycidae family, poses a notable threat to various tree species, particularly in the Southern United States.

With its unique life cycle and feeding habits, it underscores the delicate balance of nature. While its vibrant colors and markings offer aesthetic appeal, the damage it inflicts on trees cannot be overlooked.

Effective management and control strategies, from regular monitoring to chemical interventions, are crucial in mitigating its impact and preserving our precious ecosystems.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about bomelia borers. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Texas Bumelia Borer

Cool Bug Pics
The Borer and Bee Killer are both from my yard in Seguin TX
R

Hi Renee,
We see you have labled your photo of Plinthocoelium suaveolens with the common name Texas Bumelia Borer. We posted another image of this species yesterday and lamented its lack of a universally accepted common name. We would propose Tupelo Tree Borer after another host tree.

Letter 2 – Texas Bumelia Borer

Identify please
Hi there,
My 3yr old little boy is obsessed with bugs, I guess as every boy is. These are a couple of pics of a recent bug he found and captured in his bug container.

The bugs actually ate the thin, metal screening and escaped before the day was over. He has also seen one that appeared to be more blue than green. Can you tell us what they are? Thank You!
Suzanne B Hayes

Hi Suzanne,
This is a Texas Bumelia Borer, Plinthocoelium suaveolens. There are several subspecies and Plinthocoelium suaveolens plicatum has a green head and thorax. We checked your telephone area code and have figured you live in Texas. The subspecies Plinthocoelium suaveolens plicatum is found in Texas.

Letter 3 – Bumelia Borer

Blue beetle with orange legs
Location: Austin, tx
December 24, 2010 3:51 pm
Hi Bugman!
This beetle was found in Austin TX in the middle of June (mid to upper 90-degree weather) in our elm tree. He was moving very slowly and didn’t look like he was doing well (moving very slowly as if sick). He’s about an inch long.
Signature: Kris

Bumelia Borer

Dear Kris,
Most of the images we receive of the Bumelia Borer,
Plinthocoelium suaveolens, are a beautiful metallic green rather than blue, but BugGuide indicates that it is a variable species that can be “metallic green, blue, or bronze. Femora red.

Rock on! Thanks for the quick response. He’s pretty much the coolest bug we’ve ever seen. Hopefully we’ll see more of them this summer.
Merry Christmas!

Letter 4 – Bumelia Borer

Large green beetle, orange legs, long antennae?
Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 1:52 PM
I found this large green metallic beetle in my oak tree. I have never seen a beetle like this one before, and was wondering if you could tell me what it is!

The body itself was about 3-3.5″ long, and the antennae nearly doubled its length. The legs are also very long and a verigated orange color. Any info would be very appreciated!
Amy G.
Seminole, Oklahoma

Bumelia Borer
Bumelia Borer

Hi Amy,
There are many beautiful Long Horned Borer Beetles in the family Cerambycidae, but the Bumelia Borer, Plinthocoelium suaveolens, is one of the more beautiful North American species. According to BugGuide: “Larvae are trunk and root borers of Tupelo ( Nyssa ), Bumelia , and Mulberry ( Morus ). Adults are attracted to UV lights and bait.”

Thank you very much for your reply!  It was a very beautiful bug.  I darn near killed myself trying to get away from it when it flew towards me, LOL! By the way, it’s near impossible to pull your head/neck down inside your body to avoid a bug flight path!
Amy G.

Letter 5 – Basket Pupae: Bumelia Webworm Moth

Gainesville, Florida bugs
These ‘insect items’ were found on the edge of a small, spring-fed, swampy area adjacent to a sandhill. (I know that sounds crazy, but this area of Florida is a bit unpredictable. They were about 2ft above ground level on a pine trunk. There were only 2.

I Did not look for it on your site, as I have no idea where to begin. Butterfly or beetle? Who knows? The ‘baskets’ containing the pupae(?) are about 2cm long, so basket and attachment are about 4-5 cm in length. Sorry about the poor photo quality. Thank you,
Heather Martin
Senior Environmental Specialist
Alachua County Environmental Protection Department
Gainesville, Fl.

Hi Heather,
We don’t believe these are Moth Pupae, and we are putting out some additional inquiries in an effort to get you an exact identification. Perhaps some Neuropteran or a Caddisfly or other aquatic insect.

Additional Inquiry
(12/29/2007) Basket Cocoons? Weird Pupae?
One of our environmentalists found these weird cocoons or pupae attached to what she thinks was a “Pond Pine” or Spruce. Do you know what they are? Thank you,
Chel

Letter 6 – Bumelia Borer

Green, metallic beetle in Texas
Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 5:37 PM
Hi! My husband found this out in our backyard today. July heat in Waco, Texas. It was just crawling around in the grass, and hopped up onto the back porch when he called me out there to see it. Ive tried a few friends…but I get answers from Borer Beetle to Green Bug. Thanks!
Traci
Texas

Bumelia Borer
Bumelia Borer

Hi Traci,
Of the answers you received, Borer Beetle is correct, just not very specific.  Though there are other families with wood boring beetles, Borer Beetle would generally refer to the family Buprestidae, or the family to which this Bumelia Borer, Plinthocoelium suaveolens, belongs, Cerambycidae.  The Bumelia Borer  according to BugGuide is found in the Central and Southeastern U.S.

Letter 7 – Bumelia Borer

iridescent beetle with orange legs
July 15, 2010
This beetle was found near San Antonio, Texas. The body was about 1.5 inches long and the antennae were at least that long. The legs were orange and black. Please help identify this beetle. I’ve lived in TX all my life and never saw a beetle like this…except maybe at the zoo.
dandkcope
San Antonio, TX

Bumelia Borer

Hi dandkcope,
These are gorgeous photos of a spectacularly beautiful beetle, the Bumelia Borer,
Plinthocoelium suaveolens.

Bumelia Borer

Letter 8 – Bumelia Borer

BEATLE?
Location: NORHTEAST TEXAS
October 25, 2011 2:11 pm
DEAR BUGMAN I SPOTTED THIS BEETLE IN THE RIVER BOTTOMS OF THE RED RIVER OUTSIDE OF TEXARKANA TX
Signature: ERIC BATES

We prefer Tupelo Borer

Dear Eric,
The first time we ever saw a Bumelia Borer,
Plinthocoelium suaveolens, we were aghast at its tropical beauty.  We prefer the name Tupelo Borer.  You can read about the Tupelo Borer on BugGuide.

Letter 9 – Bumelia Borer

Subject: Ava wants to know what’s this alien bug?
Location: San Antonio, TX
May 29, 2012 7:11 pm
Hi,
My name is Ava I am 7 and I found this bug in our backyard. The bug looks like an aliens and has skin that reflects light.
I hope you have time to tell me what this bug is.
Thank you
Signature: Bug ID for Ava

Bumelia Borer

Dear Ava,
We want you to know that we are very busy right now and we do not have the time to answer all of the letters we are receiving, and we are only able to post one letter to our website this morning, and that letter is your request. 

This is a Bumelia Borer, a longhorned borer beetle, and it is the second sighting we received in the last week.  Almost all of the reports of Bumelia Borers come from Texas. 

The Bumelia Borer spends its larval stage feeding on the wood of Bumelia, Tupelo and Mulberry trees.  The adults emerge in the late spring.  It really is a beautiful beetle.

Thanks,
We will tell Ava when she comes home from school. She will be very excited.

Letter 10 – Bumelia Borer

Subject: Large thin beetle Bham, Ala.
Location: South of Birmingham Alabama near Little Cahaba River
July 20, 2013 10:32 am
Large thin green back with orange and black legs and prominent horn-like antennae
Signature: Deborah Thomas

Bumelia Borer
Bumelia Borer

Dear Deborah,
Disproportionately long antennae are a distinguishing feature of most Longhorned Borer Beetles in the family Cerambycidae.  This is a Bumelia Borer,
Plinthocoelium suaveolens.

Letter 11 – Bumelia Borer

Subject:  A beautiful green bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Arkansas
Date: 09/25/2017
Time: 11:10 PM EDT
I saw an interesting bug on my porch. Some type of beetle perhaps. Just wondering what it is.
Thank you for your time.
How you want your letter signed:  Melody

Bumelia Borer

Dear Melody,
This gorgeous beetle is a Bumelia Borer,
Plinthocoelium suaveolens.  According to BugGuide:  “Large, metallic green, bronze, or blue (highly variable). Femora red.” 

Bumelia Borer

Letter 12 – Bumelia Borer

Subject:  Identify this green metallic bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Ranger Creek Rd., Boerne, TX 78006
Date: 06/25/2019
Time: 10:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please can you identify this bug. It is about 1.5 inches long. Found on a wild cherry tree.
How you want your letter signed:  Txbugboy

Bumelia Borer

Dear Txbugboy,
This gorgeous beetle if a Bumelia Borer,
Plinthocoelium suaveolens, and according to BugGuide:  “Larvae are trunk and root borers of Tupelo (Nyssa), Gum Bully Sideroxylon (=Bumelia), and Mulberry (Morus).”  Perhaps wild cherry is another host.  According to Beetles in the Bush

“This species, occurring across the southern U.S. from Florida and Georgia west to New Mexico and Arizona, is truly one of North America’s most beautiful longhorned beetles due to its large size, brilliant iridescent green coloration, and super-elongate wildly-contrasting orange and black legs.”

Letter 13 – Bumelia Borers and Anglewing attracted to rotting fruit

Subject: Green and metalic green beetle
Location: Sulphur Oklahoma
May 24, 2012 9:34 pm
I put some ripened fruit out so I could attract some butterflies and I caught a picture of this bug. What am I?
Signature: Sherry Cloud

Bumelia Borer

Hi Sherry.
The first time we saw a photo of a Bumelia Borer,
Plinthocoelium suaveolens, we were astonished at its beauty.  It really is a beautiful beetle.  Did your rotting fruit attract any butterflies?

Bumelia Borer

Thank you.
Yes, I am trying my talents at a little photograpy and it helps to attract the butterflies. Here are a couple. I am waiting for the really colorful one!

Hi again Sherry,
Thanks for sending us some butterfly photos.  We are posting the Anglewing, probably a Comma.  Their wings are actually quite colorful when they are opened.  The undersides help to camouflage the resting butterfly by allowing it to blend in with dried leaves.

Anglewing is probably a Comma

UPDATE:  Mating Bumelia Borers
May 25, 2012
Here this beetle is again, but with a mate I believe. Is it unusual to see them here in Southern Oklahoma? I think it is the male on top and he looks almost like an alien!
Thank you for getting back to me.

Mating Bumelia Borers

Hi again Sherry,
Thanks for sending the photo of the mating Bumelia Borers.  Most sightings we have received are from Texas. 

According to BugGuide, there are no reports from Oklahoma, but they are reported from adjacent states Texas, Arkansas and Missouri.  They are also reported from as far west as Arizona and as far east as Florida.

Letter 14 – Bumelia Borer from Nicaragua

What about this one, What is it?
Location: 12° 3’ 45.67” North, 86° 18’ 51.88” West (Nicaragua, Managua, El Crucero)
November 7, 2011 10:32 pm
I saa two of these flying insect crawling on a tree in my front yard.
When I got near to take pictures one of them flew towards me and bagan circling me.
Signature: Sergiortc

Bumelia Borer

Hola Sergiortc,
This Longhorned Borer Beetle looks to us like the Bumelia Borer, Plinthocoelium suaveolens, a species found in warmer portions of the United States according to BugGuide.  Insects have no respect for international borders, and the range might be greater than in indicated on BugGuide.  We suspect this is the same species or a closely related species.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

8 thoughts on “Bumelia Borer 101: A Quick Guide to This Intriguing Insect”

  1. Thank you for your input. I agree with you, if it is not the exact species is a closely related one.

    They are beautiful, but a little intimidating with their fast movements and suden flights.

    Sorry for the typos in my first mesage. I’ll try to avoid them in the future.

    Reply
  2. The cocoons are indeed those of the Bumelia webworm moth (Urodus parvula). They have most often been reported from red bay trees. When the caterpillars are full-grown, they wander off of the host plants to spin their cocoons. I am trying to collect cocoons and hope to photograph the entire life cycle for a web page I am doing for the U.F. Entomology & Nematology Department’s “Featured Creatures” web site. I would appreciate learning of Gainesville locations of the cocoons.

    Reply

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