Palo Verde Root Borer

Subject: What kind of beetle?
Location: Bisbee, Az
July 5, 2013 11:28 am
I found this big guy (or gal) on it’s back at the gas station and brought it home to give it a drink of water and a safe location. It literally appeared to drink for about 30 min. and perked up quite a bit afterwards. I was online trying to I.D. it when I found your site which I’m really grateful for because I’m totally fascinated by bugs & now have a resource for looking them up. I haven’t seen this type of beetle here before. We just started our monsoon season and this is the 2nd type of lg. beetle I’ve seen. I was wondering what it was & what it eats, so I took these photos to send you . They’re a little fuzzy, I don’t have close-up lens. It has a small set of pincers but didn’t act aggressive or try to pinch anything. It mainly just wanted to hide somewhere. Thank you so much for your time and wonderful website ….. I really appreciate it! Janet p.s. I’m really glad you don&#821 7;t endorse extermination!!
Signature: Talks with Bugs

Palo Verde Root Borer
Palo Verde Root Borer

Hi Janet,
This appears to be a Palo Verde Root
Borer, Derobrachus hovorei, a species that is common in Arizona.  Here is a photo from BugGuide for comparison.  Adults are attracted to lights, so that probably explains why it was discovered at a gas station.  More information is available on BugGuide where it states:  “Larvae feed on roots of paloverde trees (Parkinsonia spp.).”  The Palo Verde Grub Fact Sheet for Kids states:  “Adult beetles may take nectar ar feed on fruit.”

Palo Verde Root Borer
Palo Verde Root Borer

Thank you Daniel. I do believe you are correct.  I’ve lived in Az 30 years, in Phoenix and south and I’ve never seen one before. Does the Palo Verde Root Borer Grub damage or ever kill the Palo Verde?  Janet

Hello again Janet,
From what we understand, Palo Verde Root Borers do not kill the trees they feed upon.  We suspect that if the Borers are especially numerous, if the tree is already distressed and/or if the weather conditions are especially harsh, the damage might result in significant harm to the trees.

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