The threat to Cottonwood, Poplar, and Willow tree populations by the Cottonwood Borer is black-and-white.
The Cottonwood Borer is part of the Long-Horned Beetle family. It has extremely long antennae that grow to lengths beyond its own body. The beetle has a white face with black antennae. Its body is a creamy white or ivory color with two rows of black blocks on each wing covering. The pronotum (neck area) is also white and has large black spiky ovals on it. It stands among some of the largest beetles in North America. Cottonwood Borers live near river banks and prefer wooded areas with poplar, willow and cottonwood trees.
This species makes its way through the summer months eating trees. Adults slowly work their way up to the branches, chewing and destroying them until they ultimately reach the leaves. Given time, these boring beetles can infest forests, sometimes eliminating neighborhood blocks of their tree cover. The female adult Cottonwood Borer chews holes into the base of the targeted trees and lays her eggs in them. The larvae hatch and destroy trees by chewing the inside wood into sawdust and pulp. They also chew on the fragile root system underground until the tree can no longer gather nutrients or water from the soil. Over the years, affected trees become dry and weak, falling over at ground level.
Scientific Name: Plectrodera scalator
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 40mm (0.98in to 1.56in)
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Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.