Cottonwood Borer Beetle

In Tennessee we have native Poplar trees, Cottonwood trees and Willows. This makes us a perfect host for the Cottonwood Borer Beetle. This beetle is a member of the longhorned beetle family and can be quite large, being up to 1 ¾” Long and ½” wide with antennae that can be longer than their entire body. They are actually one of our largest beetles in the United States, and can be quite intimidating in appearance, especially with their antennae that resemble long horns and make them look even bigger. They have a very distinctive Black and cream color pattern which cover their body and wings. They are not much harm to us, but can be to certain tree species in Tennessee.

The Cottonwood Borer Beetle starts its life in late summer to early fall, as they emerge as adults, where their eggs were placed at the base of a tree. This process takes up to two years, as the female lays the eggs, and actually bites into the bark at the base of the tree where the egg is placed. When the egg develops into the larvae state, the larvae then can do the bulk of the damage of host trees by entering this starting point bitten out by their mother. They will dig into the root of a tree as they feed. If the tree happens to be young, the damage done by the feeding larvae can completely kill the new tree. With larger trees they tend to bore into the tree about one inch deep and begin to form tunnels. During the 2nd winter the larvae is much larger and will travel these tunnels to do even more damage, but most large adult trees can survive this young Cottonwood Borer Beetle as it eats and grows. Once it is time to emerge as an adult in late summer, they eat and mate over a short lifespan of only one month. In this short time as an adult Cottonwood Borer Beetle, they also do their fair share of damage by eating soft bark, new growth on trees and their leaves. They feed on our Cottonwood trees, Poplar trees and Willows; however the good news is that they prefer to choose sick or dying trees as their host for growth. So, it is the young new trees and the dying trees that are at most risk.

The Cottonwood Borer Beetle does not really have much of a defense system, nor does it need one. They only live one month as an adult, and the two years that they live and grow through the larvae and pupal stages are inside small tunnels in the tree. Woodpeckers, parasites and long periods of flooding are the biggest threat to the Cottonwood Borer Beetle.

The Cottonwood Borer Beetle is not considered a Nashville Pest Control issue. They do invade our Tennessee State Tree, but as stated, they primarily prey on the sick and dying trees. They also are not an insect that becomes infestations, thus the numbers really never become uncontrollable like many others fast producing pests. Your best line of defense for your Poplars and Willows is to keep your trees healthy and avoid nicking them near the base with your lawnmower and string trimmer. Other than that, it’s hard to fight a pest you can’t see. However if you do see pests around your home that need a Pest Control Pro, call your Local Pest Control Family – Certified Pest Control Nashville.