Contact: Eric Day, Manager, Insect Identification Laboratory
Description: Beetles in the family Buprestidae, or flatheaded borers, are beautifully marked, metallic-colored beetles, varying greatly in size but usually somewhat flattened and boat-shaped. The wood- boring larvae are characterized by a hammer-headed shape produced by a flattened enlargement of the body region behind the head. Flatheaded borers, adults and larvae. The characteristics of flatheaded borer damage are: medium sized (1/4 - 1/2 inch), oval holes in the wood; flattened tunnels in the sapwood of softwoods and hardwoods; powdery, pale-colored sawdust in tunnels.
Habitat: Buprestis lineata is a common flatheaded borer in the eastern and southeastern United States. It has been found associated with loblolly pine, scrub, longleaf pine, pitch pine, and white pine. It has been found causing damage to log houses in many parts of the southeast and middle Atlantic states. The larvae feed during the summer and early fall.
Life Cycle: Adult females lay eggs singly or in groups on the bark or in crevices in the bark or wood. The young borers (larvae) mine the inner bark or wood. The galleries of the larvae are flattened, usually oval in cross section, and winding, gradually enlarging as the larva increases in size. These larval mines are always tightly packed with fine sawdust arranged in arc-like layers. The adult beetles on emerging through the bark or the wood leave a characteristic oval or elliptical exit hole.
The life cycle may be completed in part of one season or extend to two years. Some forms complete their development in the summer, transform to adults, and do not emerge until the following spring.
Type Of Damage: The flatheaded borers are of considerable importance in the forest. The greatest damage results from the larvae boring into the sapwood of recently felled logs. The larvae will attack and feed on a variety of softwoods and hardwoods.
Control: Flatheaded borers are rarely a problem in Virginia, and infestations tend to be small and localized. If control is desired, the best method is to spot treat the local infestations. This can be done by applying insecticides to the surface of the wood to prevent reinfestation, and perhaps kill larvae that feed close to the surface and contact the chemical just below the surface.