A fan of fallen Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir trees, the Ponderous Borer is not a pest to either of these conifers.
Though the larvae of the Ponderous Borer chew into wood, as eggs, they are only placed on fallen trees or cut logs. This means that healthy trees are not attacked, so forests are not under threat. Of course, felled timber is used by people for various things like firewood, flooring, furniture, cabinetry, and log homes, so it is possible to transport wood indoors that already has larvae inside it. If a beetle is found indoors, it may have outgrown its host log and exited by chewing its way out. Releasing a beetle outdoors is safe because it does not pursue living trees. Freshly cut lumber from the Ponderosa pine tree and Douglas fir exude an aroma that females seem to be able to detect. After mating, females lay eggs near a split or opening in the wood to give a newly hatched larva easier access to the nutritious inner tissue of the dying tree. Lumber yards may find this beetle a nuisance since the boring done by the larvae mars woodgrain, which can reduce its value.
The Ponderous Borer is large and brown, and it is not aggressive. Powerful jaws used to chew wood can also deliver a painful bite if it is handled roughly and frightened. The long antennae mean it is part of the Long-horned Beetle family, and it can fly though it is more often seen walking. Look for this beetle in the western half of the continent in areas where evergreens are growing and falling, particularly Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs.
Scientific Name: Trichocnemis spiculatus
Other Name(s): Ponderosa Pine Borer, Western Pine Sawyer, Spined Woodborer
Size (Adult; Length): 55mm to 75mm (2.15in to 2.93in)
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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.