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.
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
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
|Signs of Infestation
|Females: reddish-brown, Males: black with reddish “shoulders”
|Holes in wood, frass
|Round, covered in tiny hairs
|Damage to carpets, fabrics
|Brown or reddish-brown
|Holes in wood, ticking sounds
|Reddish-brown to black
|D-shaped exit holes, bark damage
|Reddish-brown to brown
|Holes in wood, frass
How to Get Rid of Cedar Beetles?
Insecticides and Chemical Treatments
Insecticides are essential in controlling beetle infestations. Examples of chemicals used are:
These insecticides can be applied to cracks, crevices, and other affected areas. Always follow safety precautions when using insecticides.
- Effective in killing beetles
- Quick action
- 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.
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:
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
|Resistant to beetle infestations
|Prone 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
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
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
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.
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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 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?