European House Borer
European House Borer (EHB), Hylotrupes bajulus (L.) is a destructive longicorn beetle pest of timber, attacking seasoned untreated softwood timber including pine, fir and spruces. It can infest furniture, structural timber in buildings as well as dead parts of pine trees.
Its current distribution includes Europe, Africa, North and South America, the Middle East and Australia, where it was first found in Perth’s eastern suburbs in January 2004 and an eradication program ensued.
In 2010 a determination was made that it was not technically feasible to eradicate EHB from Western Australia and the eradication program has moved into a management program phase.
What’s the threat to NSW?
NSW is currently free of EHB.
The most likely pathway of entry of EHB into NSW is by the movement of undetected larvae in infested seasoned pinewood.
EHB larvae are difficult to detect in infested wood. The appearance of emergence holes of the adult beetle is usually the first indication that EHB is present in timber. From a surveillance standpoint detection at this stage may be too late as damage to the timber has already been done by the larva and the adult may have moved off to mate and infest new timber.
If EHB is introduced to NSW and goes undetected, it may establish and not be eradicable.
Where to look
EHB has been found in dead sections of live pine trees, dead pinewood material and in structural timber in roof trusses.
- Look at dead limbs on living pine trees
- Look at tree limbs on the ground
- Look at timber piles such as firewood
- Look at untreated roofing trusses
However, any untreated items originating from endemic areas may pose a risk, including pine pallets, pine dunnage and household and outdoor pine furniture (185 kb, JPG).
What to look for
It is important to become familiar with this pest and be able to recognise early the signs of infestation.
Oval shaped emergence holes – (5-10 mm wide) running with the grain of infested timber from which the adult beetle has emerged. See the EHB image gallery for evidence of emergence.
Note: other pest beetles also have oval shaped emergence holes but these will typically be found running across the grain.
Frass – this is the droppings of the EHB larvae mixed with fine wood dust. Frass is often found on the ground just below where the adult beetle has emerged. See the EHB image gallery for tunneling for examples of deposited frass.
Blisters – long blister-like swellings under the surface of a thin layer of uneaten wood where the borer has eaten a gallery (tunnel) through the wood and tightly packed it with frass (droppings). See the EHB image gallery for evidence of blistering.
Adult beetles – are brownish-black to black in colour and have a slightly flattened appearance. Beetle wings are usually all black and may have distinctive white patches. The top surface of the first body segment behind the head has two raised, black shiny knobs, two of these are like eyes. Adults are about 18-25 mm in length with antennae that are about half as long as the body. See the EHB image gallery for a description of adult beetles.
EHB Larvae – larvae are rarely seen as they are hidden in the timber. They are a creamy white colour with a rippled body an enlarged flattened head. At maturity larvae can be up to 40mm in length and 7.5 mm wide. See the EHB image gallery for identification of EHB lavae.
A soft scrapping sound – this is made by the larvae as they feed and may be heard most clearly at night. Listen to an audio recording (www.ehb.wa.gov.au).
What is NSW doing?
As part of the transition to management, New South Wales will be:
- implementing new nationally harmonised legislation,
- restricting the movement of specified items into NSW to minimise the risk of introducing EHB and undertaking a communication and education strategy to heighten knowledge and awareness of the pest,
- completing targeted surveillance in high risk areas of NSW, and
- preparing awareness and education packages for stakeholders in NSW
Spotted something unusual?
If you see something unusual or different, report your suspicions as soon as possible to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881.
- Western Australia EHB webpage (www.ehb.wa.gov.au)
- Padil (Pest and Disease Image Library) (www.padil.gov.au)
- Subscribe to the email Biosecurity Bulletin for Plants to receive regular updates and announcements for all plant biosecurity issues.