How to Get Rid of Cedar Beetles: 5 Proven Methods to Protect Your Trees

Cedar beetles are wood-boring insects that can cause damage to cedar trees and other coniferous plants.

These pests tunnel into the tree’s bark and feed on its wood, compromising the tree’s health and structural integrity.

To protect your cedar trees and maintain a healthy landscape, it is essential to know how to get rid of cedar beetles effectively.

One common method for dealing with cedar beetles is to practice good tree care and maintain a healthy environment for your trees.

How to Get Rid of Cedar Beetles
Male Cedar Beetle

This includes proper watering, pruning, and fertilizing to ensure the tree’s immune system can fight off pests. In some cases, a chemical treatment may be necessary to eliminate a severe infestation.

Another approach is using biological controls, such as releasing predator insects like lady beetles that feed on cedar beetles.

This method can help to reduce the beetle population naturally without the use of harsh chemicals, promoting a more sustainable and eco-friendly solution.

Identifying Cedar Beetles

Differences Between Beetle Species

Cedar beetles belong to the long-horned beetle family, which includes various species, such as the Japanese Cedar Longhorned Beetle and the Black Cedar Beetle.

To identify them, pay attention to their size and color. For example, the Japanese Cedar Longhorned Beetles is about 3/8 in long with females being reddish-brown and males black with reddish “shoulders”

Other pests like carpet beetles, deathwatch beetles, bark beetles, and anobiids are often confused with wood-boring beetles.

Some key features to distinguish them:

  • Carpet beetles: small, round, and covered in tiny hairs
  • Deathwatch beetles: 5-7 mm long and brown or reddish-brown
  • Bark beetles: 2-4.5 mm long, reddish-brown to black
  • Anobiids: Cylindrical, 3-8mm long, and reddish-brown to brown

Signs of Infestation

To identify a cedar beetle infestation, look for the following signs:

  • Holes in wood: Wood-boring beetles like cedar beetles often gnaw holes in wood during their larval stage
  • Frass: Beetle larvae produce frass, a mixture of food fragments and fecal pellets, that can be found near infested wood

Comparison of damage caused by various wood boring insects

Beetle SpeciesSizeColorSigns of Infestation
Cedar Beetles~3/8inFemales: reddish-brown, Males: black with reddish “shoulders”Holes in wood, frass
Carpet BeetlesSmallRound, covered in tiny hairsDamage to carpets, fabrics
Deathwatch Beetles5-7 mmBrown or reddish-brownHoles in wood, ticking sounds
Bark Beetles2-4.5 mmReddish-brown to blackD-shaped exit holes, bark damage
Anobiids3-8 mmReddish-brown to brownHoles in wood, frass
Female Cedar Beetle and suitors

How to Get Rid of Cedar Beetles?

Insecticides and Chemical Treatments

Insecticides are essential in controlling beetle infestations. Examples of chemicals used are:

  • Deltamethrin
  • Bifenthrin
  • Cyfluthrin

These insecticides can be applied to cracks, crevices, and other affected areas. Always follow safety precautions when using insecticides.

Benefits:

  • Effective in killing beetles
  • Quick action

Drawbacks:

  • Can be harmful if misused
  • May impact the environment

Natural and Home Remedies

Some safer alternatives for eliminating cedar beetles include:

  • Boric acid: A natural insecticide that can be applied to infested wood.
  • Diatomaceous earth: Sprinkle around the house to kill beetles.
  • Vinegar: Mix with water and spray on affected areas.
  • Steam cleaning: Can be used on carpets, fabrics, and furniture.

These methods may take longer but are less harmful to humans and the environment.

Traps and Vacuuming

Using traps is helpful in controlling beetle populations. Place them near infested wood or beams.

Vacuuming is also effective in removing beetles from carpets, fabrics, and other areas. Empty vacuum cleaner bags outside the home to prevent re-infestation.

Professional Pest Control Services

If beetle infestations prove challenging to control, consider hiring a professional pest control service.

They can assess the situation and recommend appropriate treatments, such as fumigation or chemical treatments.

Cedar Beetle Mating Frenzy

Protecting Wood and Furniture

Wood Treatment and Sealants

It’s essential to treat wood to protect it from cedar beetles.

Opt for insecticidal treatments on both hardwoods and softwoods like pine. Examples of treatments include:

  • Paints
  • Varnishes

These treatments create a barrier that prevents adult beetles from laying eggs on the wood surface.

Keep in mind:

  • Hardwoods are more resistant to beetle infestations than softwoods
  • Paints and varnishes can also serve as moisture barriers

Proper Storage and Moisture Control

Controlling moisture is a critical part of preventing cedar beetle infestations.

Maintain the moisture content in wood below 14% to discourage beetle activity.

Here are some tips for proper wood storage and moisture control:

  • Store wood in well-ventilated areas
  • Avoid placing it directly on the ground
  • Utilize dehumidifiers in crawl spaces
MaterialProsCons
HardwoodResistant to beetle infestationsExpensive, heavier
SoftwoodAffordable, lightweightProne to infestations

By following these guidelines, you can effectively protect your wood and furniture from cedar beetles. Enjoy your beetle-free home!

Preventing Cedar Beetle Infestations

Regular Inspection and Maintenance

Regularly inspect your home, especially wood and attics, for signs of wood-boring beetles.

Such signs include exit holes, frass, and damaged wood.

Vacuuming around your house can help remove beetles and their larvae from carpets, fabrics, and clothing.

Conduct regular inspections:

  • Monthly check for exit holes or frass in hardwood and softwood surfaces
  • Annual inspection of crawl spaces and attics for beetle damage
Female Cedar Beetle

Environmental Control

Managing humidity and moisture content in your home is essential for preventing beetle infestations.

Wood-boring beetles thrive in areas with high moisture levels, so use a dehumidifier to maintain optimal humidity.

Make sure to check for water leaks and properly ventilate crawl spaces.

Key environmental measures:

  • Use dehumidifiers to maintain humidity under 50%
  • Fix any water leaks in your house

Exclusion Methods

Seal cracks, gaps, and crevices in your home to prevent beetles from entering. Varnish or paint hardwoods and softwoods to protect them from beetle damage.

Store clothing, fabrics, and similar items in airtight containers. For large infestations, consider hiring professionals such as Termin

Conclusion

Cedar beetles, part of the long-horned beetle family, are wood-boring pests that can compromise the health of cedar trees and other wooden structures.

Proper identification, regular inspections, and understanding their life cycle are crucial for effective management.

While chemical treatments offer a quick solution, natural remedies and preventive measures, such as moisture control and wood treatments, provide sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives.

By staying informed and proactive, homeowners can ensure a healthy environment, free from the threats posed by these beetles.

Reader Emails

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

Letter 1 – Cedar Tree Borer

 

Subject:  Bug in my house in winter Geographic location of the bug:  Norton Shores, Michigan Date: 02/11/2018 Time: 09:27 AM EDT Your letter to the bugman:  I found this bug crawling on the floor in winter.  February 2018. This is the second one in about a month.  It is 1/2 to 5/8 inch long.  The antennas were quite long.  It looks like some kind of a beetle.  I’ve looked, but can’t see a pictures of it.  Should I be concerned?   Thank you How you want your letter signed:  no
Cedar Tree Borer
Based on this BugGuide image, we are confident that this is a Cedar Tree Borer, and if you brought firewood into the house recently and the wood was arborvitae, cypress, juniper or cedar, the adult Cedar Tree Borers may be emerging from the firewood in the warm interior of your home.  It is also possible they are emerging from some piece of furniture or wooden object that was made from the host plants.  They will not infest milled lumber.
Thanks for helping to ID the Cedar Tree Borer.  That’s it alright.  Here is another photo
for you to look at.  Last November I brought home some rough cut Eastern Red Cedar
to let dry inside the house.  I just examined all the boards.  I found one that had bore
holes in it.  I assume that’s where it came from.  It’s good to hear they won’t reproduce in the house.  I’ll have to examine my boards a little better next time.
Thank you,  Wayne
Infested Cedar plank
Dear Wayne, While you don’t have to worry about the already milled lumber becoming infested, you should be aware that when immature wood boring insects are living in wood that gets milled, the maturing process is frequently delayed.  There are incidents of some beetles emerging from wood that has been milled as long as fifty years earlier, so you may experience some Cedar Borers in the years to come.
Daniel, Thanks for all the information.  After hearing that they can emerge many years later that makes me think again.  I love Eastern Red Cedar and have made quite a few things out of it.  Maybe I better check all the things I have in the house made out of cedar.  I don’t remember using any cedar in the past with bore holes.  I’ll keep an eye out.    This reminds of something that happened back in 1975.  I came back from Columbia South America with some small walnut carved figures.   After
being back home for awhile, I noticed a pile of fine sawdust at the base of one.  There was a very small bore hole above it.  I assumed some kind of bug did it and we just got rid of the whole thing.  It’s amazing what we bring back home and never know it.
Thanks again,  Wayne

Letter 2 – Cedar Tree Borer

 

Subject: wood beetle Location: ocean county, nj May 24, 2014 10:06 am Hi! the attached image came out of my table. we accidentally decapitated it when trying to extract it, so the image has no head, which is really tiny with two antennae. We can’t find what it is. the closest we got was a metallic beetle of some sort. it came out of cedar, if that helps, and we got the wood from a felled Hurricane Sandy tree Signature: celia
Cedar Tree Borer
Cedar Tree Borer
Dear Celia, We are sorry for the long delay in getting back to you, but this identification has been on our back burner for several weeks now.  We made a few attempts to identify the beetle, but we did not have any luck.  We should have paid closer attention to your information about it emerging from cedar, a wood not normally prone to insect infestations.  Today, while researching a different submission, we stumbled upon a posting in our archives of a Cedar Tree Borer, Semanotus ligneus, and it matches your image, and it has the head which distinguishes it as a Longhorn Borer in the family Cerambycidae.  You can see additional images on BugGuide.  When lumber containing wood boring insects is milled, the emergence time may be delayed for years. 

Letter 3 – Cedar Beetle Mating Frenzy

 

Subject:  Mating Cedar Beetles Geographic Location of the Bug:  Littlefield Texas October 14, 2017 Hi Daniel, Here are the images I took of the Cedar Beetles. The last few are sort of hard to see but it is of the males surrounding the female. They were quite a way up the tree by that time. I’ll also send you a video or two but I need to watch them again to see which ones are easiest to see. I’ll send those soon.. Thanks, Jackie
Mating Cedar Beetles
Subject (please be succinct, descriptive and specific):  Cedar Beetle October 12, 2017 Through your site I discovered that I had found a Cedar Beetle. My husband and I are in Littlefield Texas for a few months for a job and this is where I found it. A few days later I went for a walk and saw a large amount of them flying around a tree in our backyard. It was very strange as there seemed to be only one female and the rest were males all trying to mate with her. I have several pictures and videos of them. If you are interested in seeing them I would be happy to send them to you. Also, the following day I was digging to plant a bush and dug up a female. She seemed fully formed but not quite ready for the outside world yet. I wasn’t sure if I should bury her or not so I put her under the bush I planted. A short time later, I saw two males buzzing around looking for her. Thanks for your time reading this and the work you put into this site! Your Name:  Jacqueline Hook
Cedar Beetle Mating Frenzy
Dear Jackie, Thanks so much for sending in your awesome images.  We have taken your original comment and created a new posting using your images of a Cedar Beetle Mating Frenzy.  Male Cedar Beetles have flabellate or fanlike antennae that help them locate a female once she releases her pheromones.
Female Cedar Beetle and 4 suitors

Letter 4 – Cedar Tree Borer

 

Subject: Looks like a box elder bug but different Location: North Dakota January 19, 2013 9:47 pm This is in our house in North Dakota what is it? Signature: Kelsey
Cedar Tree Borer
Dear Kelsey, This is most definitely not a Boxelder Bug, but rather a Longhorned Borer Beetle in the family Cerambycidae.  We scoured the pages of Bugguide to try to match your beetle, which has very distinctive markings, and we finally located the Cedar Tree Borer, Semanotus ligneus, on BugGuide with the note:  “Found adult in fire wood, 3/4 in. long.”  Joe MacGown has a beautiful illustration posted to DeviantART.  According to Forestry Images, it “can be on bed frames.”  We suspect your individual was either brought into the house with firewood or it emerged from some furniture.  Wood boring insects that are in the larval stage when wood is milled sometimes emerge many years after furniture has been built or homes have been built.  According to BugGuide, it feeds on “Juniper, Cedar.”  Are you burning either of those two woods?

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.

3 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Cedar Beetles: 5 Proven Methods to Protect Your Trees”

  1. We have a twenty-foot cedar hedge infested with something that produces tiny shotholes and blisters. Could be two pests. On scratching a blister, a tiny insect emerged, clear winged with a distinctive green V on its head. Any club?

    Reply
  2. We found cedartree borer in a new eastern cedar bedroom set. The antennae head were coming out of the holes. The pictures confirm this is the bug we saw. The bedroom set is now out of the house. The builder confirmed the posts are not kilned dried….so bugs. Question – does the cedartree borer eat other kiln dried woods such as knotty pine or oak, which we have plenty of that in this house. We saw a few adults with the spotty body in the house. Do we need an exterminator? Many thanks for the advice.

    Reply
    • We are going to go out on a limb with our response, but we believe it. Most wood boring beetles are very host specific, hence the common name for the Cedar Borer. They generally infest wood prior to milling, but they will survive milling and then emerge, sometimes many years later. There is record of a Golden Buprestid emerging 51 years after wood was milled. So for two reasons we believe your furniture is safe and that you do not need an exterminator. The adults will not find a host tree unless you have cedar growing nearby outdoors. They will live a short life, cut even shorter without pollen, nectar or sap to feed upon. Adults like a high sugar diet. We would even consider returning the cedar bedroom set if you like it.

      Reply

Leave a Comment