Cedar Beetle: Say Goodbye to Garden Pests

folder_openColeoptera, Insecta
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The Cedar Beetle is a fascinating insect that has captured the attention of many.

These beetles, often found in coniferous forests, play an important role in the ecosystem.

They aren’t only intriguing to researchers but also to homeowners and gardeners who may encounter these creatures on their properties.

One notable feature of Cedar Beetles is their ability to bore into wood.

This can sometimes cause issues for homeowners, as these beetles may target trees or wooden structures on the property.

Male Cedar Beetle

On the other hand, their wood-boring nature can also help break down dead trees, allowing for decomposition and nutrient recycling in the environment.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the world of Cedar Beetles, exploring their life cycle, behaviors, and impact on our world.

We’ll also discuss ways to manage them and provide tips on how to coexist with these fascinating creatures.

So, let’s embark on a journey to learn all about the Cedar Beetle and the role it plays in our environment.

Cedar Beetle Overview

Classification and Species

The Cedar Beetle, belonging to the kingdom Animalia, class Insecta, and order Coleoptera, is part of the family Callirhipidae, and subphylum Hexapoda.

One of the most well-known species within this family is the Japanese Cedar Longhorned Beetle (Callidiellum rufipenne)1.

These beetles are also known as Cicada Parasite Beetles due to their parasitic relationship with cicadas2.

Physical Characteristics

Cedar Beetles showcase some unique features, and below are their most notable characteristics:

  • Body length: Approximately 5/8 inch long1
  • Males are deep blue to black in color1
  • Males have antennae longer than their bodies1
  • Hardened wing covers, known as elytra3

A comparison of Cedar Beetles’ appearance to Western Pine Beetles:

CharacteristicCedar BeetleWestern Pine Beetle
ColorDeep blue to blackReddish-brown
AntennaeLonger than their bodies (males)Shorter
SizeAbout 5 / 8 inches longApprox. 6 to 13 mm (1/4 to 1/2 inch) in diameter

Some key characteristics of Cedar Beetles:

  • Deep blue to black color
  • Males have antennae longer than their bodies
  • Roughly 5 / 8 inches in length.

Cedar Beetle Habitat and Distribution

The Cedar Beetle is commonly found in North America and thrives in areas where their preferred wood, cedar, is abundant.

These beetles are commonly connected to cedar trees, as their name implies.

However, they can also be found on other types of wood. One example is the Japanese Cedar Longhorned Beetle, which feeds on Japanese cedar.

Male Cedar Beetle

This species has a distinct appearance, with males being deep blue to black and having antennae longer than their bodies.

In the USA, their distribution can vary among regions. Cedar beetles are more commonly found in places with a dense concentration of cedar trees.

They use these trees for shelter and as a source of sustenance. 

The habitat and distribution of Cedar Beetles can be compared with other wood-boring beetles, such as the Old House Borer.

The Old House Borer is also a long-horned beetle and is known for infesting homes.

It differs from the Cedar Beetle regarding their preferred type of wood and extent of damage caused.

Here is a comparison table between Cedar Beetle and Old House Borer:

Beetle TypePreferred WoodHabitatImpact on Trees/Homes
Cedar BeetleCedar TreesNorth AmericaModerate damage to cedar trees
Old House BorerVariety of wood typesNorth America, Especially in HomesSevere damage to various wood structures

Life Cycle and Behavior

Larval Stage

Cedar beetles have a larval stage that resembles other bark beetle larvae. During this stage, they primarily feed on tree tissues.

The development time for larvae depends on factors such as temperature and food availability. In general, the life cycle of cedar beetles consists of one generation per year.

Larvae characteristics:

  • White to tan color
  • Head capsule
  • Feeds on tree tissues

Adult Stage

Adult cedar beetles are not aggressive tree killers but can cause damage to twigs, branches, and even entire trees.

They usually infest one-seed junipers, as well as ornamental and windbreak plantings of eastern red cedar.

Mating Cedar Beetles

Adult beetle behavior:

One common example of cedar beetle species is the Sandalus niger, or black cedar beetle

Infestation and Damage

Signs of Infestation

Cedar beetle infestations often show the following signs:

  • Small, round entry and exit holes in tree bark
  • Yellowing or browning of foliage
  • Thinning of tree canopy

The beetles bore into trees to lay their eggs, leaving characteristic holes behind.

Impact on Trees

Cedar beetles can cause significant damage to infected trees. Their tunneling activities can:

  • Interrupt the tree’s nutrient and water flow
  • Weaken the tree’s overall structure
  • Lead to branch dieback or total tree death

A comparison between healthy and infested trees:

 Healthy TreesInfested Trees
Foliage colorGreenYellow or brown
Canopy thicknessDenseThin
Bark hole presenceNoYes
Tree structureStrongWeak or brittle

Be mindful of these signs and act fast if you suspect a cedar beetle infestation. Early intervention can help minimize the damage to your trees.

Pest Management and Prevention

Insecticide Alternatives

Cedar beetles can be effectively managed with a few insecticide alternatives. Here are some options:

  • Diatomaceous Earth (DE): A natural powder that can effectively kill cedar beetles by damaging their exoskeleton.
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM): An environmentally sensitive approach that combines various strategies, using pesticides only as needed.

Effective Vacuuming Techniques

An important part of pest management and prevention is regular and thorough vacuuming. Here are some effective techniques:

  • Targeted vacuuming: Focus on areas where beetles are most commonly found, like carpet edges, baseboards, and closets.
  • Using attachments: Utilize vacuum attachments like crevice tools and brush rolls to access hard-to-reach areas.

For example, vacuuming your carpets near the baseboards, using a crevice tool can help remove larvae and eggs hidden in tight spaces.

Wedge Shaped Beetle


The Cedar Beetle, predominantly found in North America’s coniferous forests, plays a dual role in our ecosystem.

While they assist in decomposition and nutrient recycling, their wood-boring nature can pose challenges for homeowners and gardeners.

Recognizing their unique characteristics, understanding their life cycle, and being aware of their impact is crucial.

By employing eco-friendly management techniques and staying informed, we can coexist harmoniously with these intriguing insects and maintain a healthy, bug-free garden.


  1. Japanese Cedar Longhorned Beetle 2 3 4 5 6 7
  2. Cicada Parasite Beetles 2
  3. Elytra of Beetles


  • 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.

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  • 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.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Do these bugs pose any problems or dangers, other than just being pests. I have had an influx of them in the past few days and we also use juniper firewood.

  • The black bug is actually the female. I have a video I’d like to send you of the two bugs procreating.

    • The male Cedar Beetle has much more developed antennae. You may send your video by using our standard submission form that can be reached by clicking the Ask WTB? icon on our site.


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