Golden Buprestid and Tiger Swallowtail: Home Intruders

Insects that hatch in houses in winter
Dear Bugman,
For an “art project” your marvelous site is very helpful to naturalists who get asked, what’s this bug that hatched in my house this winter? I’m pasting in 2 photos for you. The first is of a Golden Buprestid (I think) that came right out of my friend Sandy’s cutting board one morning. She’d had that home-made board (probably Ponderosa pine), for 8 years, and pounded, carved, sliced n’ diced on it all that time. Then one recent morning out came this beauty! The 2nd photo is of a Swallowtail butterfly that hatched out on some potted plants in a windowsill in the building here in Moscow, Idaho, where I go for my massage appointments (lucky me). My questions are — have you got any great tales of the long-lived Buprestid larvae popping out as adults in people’s homes? For the Swallowtail, how would a pupa end up on a geranium that’s never been outside? And lastly, what do we tell people who want to feed or keep alive their unexpected and stunningly beautiful winter visitors? The Swallowtail died within the week. The Buprestid has been in a little cage with some fir needles and has made it for a week so far. Thanks for your replies!
Sarah Walker
Moscow, Idaho

Hi Sarah,
Thank you for sending your interesting anecdotes. We have heard of certain wood boring beetles emerging many years after the wood was cut. Sometimes they emerge from furniture and other times from wood paneling. Many caterpillars leave their host plant and wander in search of a place to pupate. Sorry, we have no advice on keeping off season guests alive. Eric Eaton wrote in with this information: “Daniel: What a fabulous story about the beetle emerging from the cutting board! It is indeed a “golden buprestid,” Cypriacis aurulenta (formerly Buprestis aurulenta). The record age for one is an adult that emerged from a baseboard(?) in a Canadian building fully 51 years after the building was erected! Why milled lumber forces such an extended life cycle in woodborers is a mystery, at least as far as I know. Normally, the life cycle would be no more than 2-5 years. Eric”

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