Lesser auger beetle, Heterobostrychus aequalis, and damage consistent with its activity were found in mango and calliandra timber at two private residences in Cairns. The lesser auger beetle is a pest that affects wood and wooden items.
The damage caused by the lesser auger beetle occurs entirely below the surface of the wood, this damage is not usually seen until the wood disintegrates. However, the tiny exit holes left by the adults when they emerge from wood, leaving behind a sawdust-like material, can alert an early detection. The lesser auger beetle usually infests unfinished floors, window sills and furniture; with bamboo items especially susceptible to attack.
The lesser auger beetle is found in India, Asia, the Middle East and South Africa. Detections that have been made in Queensland have been associated with imported timber. There is no evidence that lesser auger beetle has become established in Queensland at this stage.
The lesser auger beetle has been found in 35 species of trees including the following genera:
|Life cycle||Length of development from egg to adult is variable, from 1 to 6 years.|
|Impacts||The lesser auger beetle is a serious pest of lumber and nearly all wood products, as they feed on various hardwood timbers and bamboo. The damage is caused by larvae tunnelling into the wood, reducing the quality and strength of the timber. The spread of the lesser auger beetle could have a devastating effect on native forests as well as timber and furniture industries.|
|Spread||Natural spread of lesser auger beetle is slow, however given its habit of boring into packing cases, boxes, furniture and timber it makes them easy to unintentionally transport.|
|Crops affected||The lesser auger beetle is primarily a pest of timber.|
|Monitoring and action|
Most serious infestations occur when infected wood is stored near or in a house, therefore it is important to ensure that any wood brought into a house or yard is thoroughly inspected. Most importantly, any wooden items that are brought into Australia must be carefully checked.
If you see the lesser auger beetle, contain it where possible and immediately report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. Early detection and intervention is vital to successfully managing this pest.