The Ivory Marked Beetle is a fascinating insect, often recognized for its striking appearance. Belonging to the longhorned beetle family, these beetles have a brown to golden brown color with four pairs of ivory spots on their wings, each surrounded by a darker brown halo. Known by their scientific name, Eburia quadrigeminata, they can be found deep within the heartwood of various deciduous trees, such as oak, hickory, maple, cherry, ash, and elm source.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the Ivory Marked Beetle is its remarkably long lifespan. In some cases, adult beetles have been reported to emerge from finished furniture and flooring after up to 40 years source.
Ivory Marked Beetle Overview
Species and Family
The Ivory-marked Beetle, scientifically known as Eburia quadrigeminata, belongs to the family Cerambycidae within the order Coleoptera in the class Insecta. Cerambycidae, also known as longhorned beetles, is a diverse family with over 20,000 species worldwide.
The Ivory-marked Beetle is a brown beetle with unique ivory spots, known for its distinctive appearance. Some key physical features include:
- Length: Approximately 1/2 inch long
- Color: Brown to golden brown
- Ivory spots: Four pairs, each surrounded by a darker brown halo
- Thorax: Small spine on each side
As a comparison to other beetles:
|Feature||Ivory-marked Beetle||Other Beetles|
|Length||Approximately 1/2 inch||Varies|
|Unique physical feature||Ivory spots||Dependent on species|
These beetles have a notably long lifespan, with adult specimens emerging from finished furniture and flooring even after 40 years. They bore deep into the heartwood of various deciduous trees, such as oak, hickory, maple, cherry, ash, and elm.
Habitat and Distribution
The Ivory-marked Beetle (Eburia quadrigeminata) can be found in various regions across the United States, with a notable presence in places like Missouri and Austin, TX. Their geographical range spans across the eastern and southern parts of the country.
Types of Trees Hosted
Ivory-marked Beetle larvae bore deep into the heartwood of various deciduous trees. Some common tree species they inhabit include:
Among these tree types, oaks are considered a particularly popular host for the Ivory-marked Beetle.
Here is a comparison table highlighting some tree preferences:
|Tree Species||Beetle Preference|
These beetles are known to have a remarkably long lifespan, with adults emerging from finished furniture and flooring after 40 years. This indicates that these beetles can reside and persist in various types of trees for extended periods.
Life Cycle and Development
Ivory-marked beetles (Eburia quadrigeminata) lay their eggs within various deciduous trees, such as oak, hickory, maple, cherry, ash, and elm 1. The eggs are left undisturbed until they hatch. Hatching generally occurs within 7 to 10 days2.
When the eggs hatch, the beetle larvae begin to bore deep into the tree’s heartwood3. Some features of the larvae include:
- Boring behavior as they consume the wood
- Responsible for weakening trees and damaging lumber
During this larval stage, the host tree can experience structural damage caused by the beetle larvae burrowing within the heartwood.
Adult ivory-marked beetles are approximately 1/2 inch in length1. They have brown to golden brown wings, with four pairs of ivory spots surrounded by darker brown halos1. Each adult beetle emerges when the larvae metamorphose into adult insects.
|Ivory-Marked Beetle||Other Longhorned Beetles|
|Color||Brown with ivory spots||Varies|
|Length||~1/2 inch||Depends on the species|
|Typical host trees||Oak, hickory, maple, etc||Varies|
|Damage to host tree||Heartwood damage||Varies|
|Time spent as larvae||Varies||Varies|
The life span of adult ivory-marked beetles is quite remarkable, with certain individuals known to emerge from finished furniture and flooring after 40 years3. This significantly long life span is unusual for many beetle species and should be taken into account when dealing with these insects.
Behavior and Interactions
The Ivory-marked beetle’s larvae primarily feed on the heartwood of various deciduous trees, such as oak, hickory, maple, cherry, ash, and elm. The beetle is considered an arthropod, like many animals with jointed legs, such as millipedes, centipedes, and spiders.
Mating and Reproduction
These beetles mate and reproduce, with the females typically laying their eggs inside the trees they find suitable for the larvae. The larvae bore deep into the heartwood of trees, where they live and feed until they metamorphose into adults.
Examples of affected organisms:
Attraction to Light Sources
Like many arthropods and insects, Ivory-marked beetles are attracted to light sources. This often leads them to gather around artificial lights, such as streetlights or porch lights, which can be an opportunity for females to find mates.
- Ivory-marked beetles affect more than 10 million species of animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and other arthropods.
- Alive animals, such as crayfish and shrimp, can also be indirectly affected by the presence of the beetle, as they can influence the health of the surrounding ecosystem.
- Females are likely to gather around lights to reproduce.
Comparison of Feeding Habits:
|Ivory-marked Beetle||Heartwood of Deciduous Trees|
|Earthworms||Organic Matter in Soil|
|Slugs & Snails||Various Plants and Organic Matter|
|Crayfish||Plant and Animal Matter|
|Shrimp||Plant and Animal Matter|
I hope you find this information helpful and engaging!
Importance and Impact on Human Activities
Damage to Timber and Lumber Industry
The Ivory-Marked Beetle (Eburia quadrigeminata) is a longhorned beetle that causes damage to hardwood. Its larvae bore deep into the heartwood of various deciduous trees, including oak, hickory, maple, cherry, ash, elm, and more1. This aspect affects both the timber and lumber industry, as it can lead to weakened trees or compromised wood in finished products, such as flooring and furniture. The adult beetles have been known to emerge from finished furniture and flooring after 40 years2, highlighting their potential to reduce product quality.
Prevention and Control Measures
To minimize the impact of these wood-boring insects, prevention and control measures can be taken. For example:
- Inspect hardwood materials for signs of insects, such as antennae, elytra with ivory spots, or cracks caused by larvae3.
- Remove dead or dying trees from the area, as these attract Ivory-Marked Beetles to lay their eggs.
- Use chemical treatments to protect wood from infestations.
When it comes to prevention and control measures, here are some pros and cons:
- Reduced property damage
- Improved safety in wooden structures
- Protection of hardwood resources
- Potential harm to non-target species
- Environmental concerns related to chemical usage
- Regular monitoring and maintenance required
Considering these factors, it is crucial to understand the importance and impact of Ivory-Marked Beetles on human activities, including the timber and lumber industry. With appropriate prevention and control measures in place, damage caused by these bugs can be minimized.
Resources for Further Information
The Ivory Marked Beetle, scientifically known as Eburia quadrigeminata, is a fascinating species of longhorned beetle. To learn more about this unique insect, here is a list of resources:
- NC State Extension Publications provides a great description of the beetle’s biology, color (brown to golden brown), wing markings, and thorax spines.
- Missouri Department of Conservation offers additional insights about the beetle’s habitat, tree preferences, and remarkable longevity.
Some key features of the Ivory Marked Beetle include:
- Distinctive ivory spots on wings
- Small spine on each side of the thorax
- Preference for dead hardwood trees
- Long lifespan
In-depth information and visuals can be found on:
- BugGuide with identification tips and informative images.
- Wikipedia for general information about the beetle and its classification within the animal kingdom.
Explore more data on this beetle using:
Additionally, here’s a comparison table highlighting some of the significant aspects of the Ivory Marked Beetle:
|Feature||Ivory Marked Beetle|
|Size||Approximately 1/2 inch length|
|Color||Brown to golden brown|
|Preferred Trees||Oak, hickory, maple, cherry, ash, elm|
|Development||Larvae bore deep into tree heartwood|
|Unique Physical Feature||Ivory spots on wings, thorax spines|
These resources ensure a thorough understanding of the Ivory Marked Beetle and its fascinating characteristics.
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 – Ivory Marked Beetle
Subject: suspicious bug
Location: western pennsylvania
August 10, 2016 8:14 pm
The other day i was in this shower and this guy decided to join me. He was about 2 inches big. And when i tried to move him out of the window he squealed at me, literally. I was only wandering if you could tell me what he is? Is he harmful?
Signature: Tristyn Gravatt
This is an Ivory Marked Beetle, a member of the wood boring beetle family Cerambycidae. They do have powerful mandibles that could nip at you, but they have no venom or poison, so they are no threat to humans. According to BugGuide: “hosts include a wide variety of hardwoods (oak, ash, hickory, locust, chestnut, maple, elm, beech, cherry); larvae bore in heartwood” but we believe they are never plentiful enough to be a threat to healthy trees.
Letter 2 – Beetle Bites Back after Ivory Marked Beetle put in a Plastic Bag.
So I just got home and I found one . Of these Ivory Marked Beetles on my back door outside. I didn’t know what it was, so I got a sandwich bag and put it in and it bit me through the bag.
We are attaching two images to your comment for posting purposes, an image of a Round Headed Apple Borer as well as an image of an Ivory Marked Beetle, both members of the same family, the Longhorned Borer Beetle family Cerambycidae. If we were put in a plastic bag, we would bite to get out as well. Longhorned Borer Beetles have to chew their way out of wood, where they have been feeding as larvae often for many years, after they metamorphose into adults.
Letter 3 – Bug of the Month August 2016: Ivory Marked Beetle
Subject: borer ?
Location: Fredericksburg Va
July 30, 2016 7:29 pm
………….rainy times after hot dry spell
It was inside the house under a table lamp
A cloudy morning
Alive and still
Fredericksburg , Virginia
If it’s a borer of a tree of some sort…..we have MANY trees and many types>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
If it”s a borer…it would be good to know its habitat!
Signature: susan warner
This is an Ivory Marked Beetle, Eburia quadrigeminata, and according to BugGuide: “hosts include a wide variety of hardwoods (oak, ash, hickory, locust, chestnut, maple, elm, beech, cherry); larvae bore in heartwood.” According to MoBugs: “Deciduous woodlands and the nearby area is their favored habitat, but they will often come to lights at night. Females deposit eggs on hardwood trees, usually in the cracks of bark. (Let me clarify here, they will only feed on dead or decaying trees, they will not harm healthy living trees…Thanks Ted for pointing out my oversight).When the larvae hatches it will eat its way into the heartwood of the tree. They feed on the wood pulp. Adults will readily come to fermented molasses bait. In large numbers these beetles could become serious pests to trees, and can cause significant damage. Because of their boring habit, and their capability of reaching the center of even the largest of trees it is not uncommon for these beetles to emerge as much as 10 to 40 years later in wood that was used to make furniture or hardwood flooring.” We suspect this individual was probably attracted to light or had some other accidental reason for appearing in your home, but we would not rule out the possibility that it might have emerged from some finished wood product or firewood stored indoors. Since today is the last day of July, and it is time for us to select a new Bug of the Month, we will be featuring your submission.
Letter 4 – Ivory Marked Beetle
Here’s a clear photo of an unidentified beetle who landed on my laser printer. Any ideas?
This is an Ivory Marked Beetle, Eburia quadrigeminata and the larvae bore in the wood of many hardwood trees including ash and hickory. Adults sometimes emerge years after milling. Adults are attracted to rotting fruit.
Correction: (10/13/2005) Saperda cretata or Eburia quadrigeminata ??
Dear Bugman, I have spent several hours cruising your website and find it all very fascinating ! I did find one misidentification, or perhaps I am wrong. Attached is a photo of a Cerambycid beetle that is common here in Georgia (I am an avid collector of beetles). I have come to know this beetle as being the “Ivory Marked Beetle” or Eburia quadrigeminata. I have seen this beetle posted twice on this website and it was identified as the Spotted Apple Borer (Saperda cretata). You say these beetles are active during the day. I know from my experience that they are found at night actively crawling on sick/dying hardwood trees. I have never seen nor collected one during the day. Is it S. cretata or is it E. quadrigeminata ???
Thanks George. One of our reliable sources steered us awry on this one. The correction is much appreciated.
Letter 5 – Ivory Marked Beetle
brown, antlered beetle with orange “eyes”
Location: Duncanville, TX
July 20, 2010 6:52 am
My wife found this beetle in our bedroom. It flies, but seldom. I captured it in an open trash can and set it outside, and it didn’t fly away for a long time. This occurred in July.
Thanks for your service.
YOur beetle is an Ivory Marked Beetle or Four Marked Ash Borer, Eburia quadrigeminata, and you may read more about it on BugGuide.
Letter 6 – Ivory Marked Beetle
Confirmation of Lesser Ivory Marked Beetle in OK?
Location: Seminole, Oklahoma
August 13, 2010 6:27 pm
Hi again! This little longhorn beetle flew in to visit me as I returned home this morning. I knew it was a longhorn beetle, so I sat and stared at tons of pics at Bug Guide. Am I right? Thanks again!
We agree with the genus but not the species. We believe this is an Ivory Marked Beetle, Eburia quadrigeminata (See BugGuide), not the closely related Lesser Ivory Marked Beetle, Eburia mutica (See BugGuide), which has less distinct markings.
Letter 7 – Ivory Marked Beetle
Bug I have never seen before
Location: Central Illinois
July 8, 2011 9:47 pm
Found this interesting fellow on my car door after work…it was night and it is summertime here. It is about 1.5 inches long…not a small bug. It flew into my car before I could study it any longer, luckily I got a nice pic. Thanks for taking your time to check out this bug.
This Longhorned Borer Beetle is an Ivory Marked Beetle, Eburia quadrigeminata, and it is also called a Four-Marked Ash Borer according to BugGuide. BugGuide also notes: “hosts include a wide variety of hardwoods (oak, ash, hickory, locust, chestnut, maple, elm, beech, cherry); larvae bore in heartwood” and the remarkable “Notorious for emerging from furniture after as many as 10-40 yrs.” You do not need to worry about the beetles boring into finished wood, however, if larvae are present when wood is milled, the metamorphosis period is affected lengthening the time the beetle remains in the larval and or pupal stages.
Letter 8 – Ivory Marked Beetle
Location: delaware ohio
December 26, 2013 8:00 pm
Please tell me what this is
This is an Ivory Marked Beetle, Eburia quadrigeminata, and late December is a very unusual time for a sighting. Perhaps we should include additional questions on our submission form, including “When did the sighting occur?” and “Why do you want to know?” because that kind of information will help us formulate a response. We try to make things as easy as possible for folks who are writing to us, but that doesn’t help us when we are trying to craft a response that satisfies the real reason a person wants to know: What’s That Bug?, especially with folks of few words. Because it appears to be nestled in a paper towel, we suspect you found this Ivory Marked Beetle in your home and you want to make sure it isn’t going to do any damage, but you never clarified any of that. The larvae of the Ivory Marked Beetle are borers that will feed on a “wide variety of hardwoods (oak, ash, hickory, locust, chestnut, maple, elm, beech, cherry); larvae bore in heartwood” according to BugGuide. We speculate this individual might have emerged early from some firewood you brought into the house and didn’t burn immediately, or this individual might have emerged from milled lumber because BugGuide also notes it is: “Notorious for emerging from furniture after as many as 10-40 yrs.” You do not need to worry about Ivory Marked Beetles infesting the wooden furniture or structural wood of your home.
Letter 9 – Ivory Marked Beetle
Subject: What’s this big in my kitchen?
August 4, 2014 7:44 pm
Found this big in the kitchen, kind of pretty and quite large, but I wasn’t sure what it is.
We suspect this Ivory Marked Beetle was attracted to the light in your kitchen.
Letter 10 – Ivory Marked Beetle
Subject: Bug Identification
Location: Southwest Virginia
July 27, 2016 5:38 am
I found this bug in my house on a windowsill. I have never seen it before.
Signature: Terry Volant
This is an Ivory Marked Beetle. According to BugGuide: “hosts include a wide variety of hardwoods (oak, ash, hickory, locust, chestnut, maple, elm, beech, cherry); larvae bore in heartwood” and “Notorious for emerging from furniture after as many as 10-40 yrs.” You just need to determine if this individual happened to wander in from the outside or if it emerged from a piece of furniture you have in your home. We tend to lean toward the former.
Letter 11 – Ivory Marked Beetle
Subject: What’s this?
Location: Hyde park ny usa
August 11, 2017 6:28 am
Found this on my stove this am
This is an Ivory Marked Beetle. According to BugGuide: “hosts include a wide variety of hardwoods (oak, ash, hickory, locust, chestnut, maple, elm, beech, cherry); larvae bore in heartwood ” and “Notorious for emerging from furniture after as many as 10-40 yrs.” We suspect this individual found its way indoors because BugGuide also states: “Attracted to lights.”