Question We completed a furniture project- bedside table made of poplar tree trunk. My husband cut down the tree in 2011,bark stripped, sanded and varnished in 2012. There were tunnelled holes throughout the visible
Wood after being stripped. No bugs were ever seen. Have had the trunks in our bedroom for six months. Last night noted fresh wood dust and some fresh bore holes...within a crack in the wood a few grey bugs approx one cm long...is this a poplar borer? Is there a concern that this bug has gotten into any other of our construction grade-stained and varnished furniture (spruce) Or onto our living ficus bonsai? Or worse yet baseboards etc? Are these bugs a threat to our home?
Thank you for your time.
Without seeing at least a clear image of the insect in question, I can't possibly make an identification. Poplar is very popUlar with a host of different wood-boring beetles and other insects. It could be a beetle in the Cerambycidae family (longhorned beetles named for their long antennae) or jewel beetle in the family Buprestidae, or something else.
The larvae of the beetles were boring in the tree before it was ever cut down, and now the adult beetles are emerging from the table. Most woodborers can take more than a year to complete their life cycle, and for reasons still not clear, milling and processing wood can extend that life cycle even more. There are records of beetles emerging 10-20, even 40 years or more after a piece of furniture was created from wood in which beetle larvae were boring.
There is virtually no chance that the beetles will re-infest the table, or any other furniture or structural timbers in your home.
I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.
Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.
Publications Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.
Education/Credentials Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.
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Past/Present Clients Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.