About the pest
European house borer (EHB) Hylotrupes bajulus Linnaeus is a destructive pest of seasoned coniferous timber including pine, fir and spruce. If allowed to become established it can cause major structural damage to buildings.
The adult beetle lays its eggs into cracks, holes and joints in dead pine trees, dead branches, or other dead parts of living trees and untreated manufactured articles derived from pine timber.
EHB adult beetles emerge from September to April during flight season. They can live from a few days up to three weeks.
The damage is done by EHB larvae that hatch from the eggs. EHB can live in its larval state for 2-12 years before it matures and emerges from the timber as an adult beetle, to begin the life cycle again. It is only when 2-3 generations have infested the same piece of wood that serious structural damage can result.
In the hot temperate climate of Perth Western Australia, research shows the larvae life cycle to be closer to 2-5 years. The pest is able to live in a wide variety of climatic conditions however it prefers temperate habitats.
Main timbers in use in WA likely to be affected are:
- Pine (Pinus spp)
- Oregon (Douglas fir – Pseudotsuga spp).
Timber manufactured articles (including sawn timbers, structural and non-structural timber, boxes, crates and pallets) are less susceptible to damage when treated with suitable preservative chemicals.
EHB has become a serious pest of seasoned softwood timbers in all countries where it is established.