Lesser auger beetle

Under Queensland legislation, if you suspect the presence of lesser auger beetle, you must report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or contact the Emergency Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Lesser auger beetle head frontal view
© Queensland Government
Lesser auger beetle larvae
© Queensland Government
Lesser auger beetle top back view
© Queensland Government

Lesser auger beetle (Heterobostrychus aequalis), and damage consistent with its activity, has been found in mango and calliandra timber at 2 private residences in Cairns.

The lesser auger beetle is mainly a pest of timber, affecting wood and wooden items.

Damage occurs entirely below the surface of the wood, and isn't usually seen until the wood disintegrates. However, alerts for early detection are the tiny exit holes left by the adults when they emerge from wood and leave behind a sawdust-like material.

The lesser auger beetle usually infests unsealed floors, window sills and furniture. Bamboo items are especially at risk.

Scientific name

Heterobostrychus aequalis

Description

  • Beetles have an elongate and cylindrical shape.
  • Colouring is reddish-brown to brownish-black.
  • Beetles are 6–13mm long and 2–2.3mm wide.
  • Shiny in appearance.
  • Males have 2 inward-curving hook-like projections at the back end of the body.

Distribution

  • Not yet established in Queensland. Detections have been associated with imported timber.
  • Found in India, Asia, the Middle East and South Africa.

Hosts

The lesser auger beetle has been found in 35 tree species in these genera:

  • Adina, Albizzia, Anisoptera and Anogeissus
  • Bambusa, Bombax and Boswellia
  • Canarium, Cassia and Cedrela
  • Dalbergia, Dendrocalamus and Dipterocarpus
  • Endospermum
  • Garuga
  • Koompassia and Kydia
  • Lannea and Leucaena
  • Mangifera and Morus
  • Parashorea, Parishia, Poinciana and Pterocarpus
  • Quercus
  • Shorea and Sterculia
  • Tectona and Terminalia.

Damage

  • Larvae tunnel into the wood, reducing the quality and strength of the timber.
  • Tiny exit holes are left by adults when they emerge from wood tunnels.
  • Sawdust-like evidence on the surface of the wood.
  • Can damage lumber and nearly all wood products as they feed on various hardwood timbers and bamboo.
  • Potentially devastating effect on native forests, as well as timber and furniture industries.

Biology

  • Time from egg to maturity is from 1–6 years.

Monitoring and action

  • Natural spread of lesser auger beetles is slow, however because they bore into packing cases, boxes, furniture and timber, they are easily transported unintentionally.
  • Thoroughly check wood brought into, or stored near, a house or yard to avoid serious infestations.
  • Check any wooden items brought into Australia from a foreign country.
  • If you see the lesser auger beetle, limit its spread where possible and immediately report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. Early detection and intervention is vital to successfully managing this pest.

Resources and research

Contact

General enquiries 13 QGOV (13 74 68)