Queensland pine beetle
© Queensland Government
© Queensland Government
Native to Queensland, the small Queensland pine beetle is a pest of hoop pine timbers.
In Queensland, 4 species of anobiid beetles (Family: Anobiidae) occur in and around buildings. About 200, of around 1,100 species worldwide, are found in Australia.
The Queensland pine beetle and the common furniture beetle, a native of Europe, are economically significant, while the pine bark anobiid and the cigarette beetle aren't significant.
Improved building practices for timber constructions have reduced the risk of attack and reports of damage.
- Adult beetles are oval-shaped, about 3mm long, 1.5mm wide and shiny reddish-brown.
- Antennae have a 3-segmented club on the end.
- Body surfaces are covered in fine hairs and many very small punctures, which are not visible to the eye.
- Legs are often folded tightly against the body.
- Eggs are white, spherical, 0.4mm in diameter and just visible.
- Larvae are soft, covered with many fine hairs, curved, wrinkled, and creamy white with dark-brown jaws.
- Fully grown larva measures 4–5mm long and 1.5mm wide.
- The pupa is soft, oval, creamy-white and measures 3.0–3.5mm long and 1.5mm wide.
- Widespread in south-eastern Queensland.
- Significant damage has previously only occurred to timbers within the area bounded by Murwillumbah (New South Wales) in the south, Bundaberg in the north and the Great Dividing Range in the west.
- Attacks susceptible hoop pine sapwood but rarely other timbers.
- Attacks unsealed (not painted or varnished) susceptible wood in housing and sometimes furniture.
- Attacks are most serious in old homes within more densely populated areas.
- Re-infests untreated susceptible timber until it is completely honeycombed and has lost its strength.
- Attacks hoop pine floors and walls, but rarely roofing timbers.
- Typically only attacks some boards or sapwood areas within boards.
- Boards can appear strong from the top but be riddled with holes underneath, as adults emerge mainly from the underside of floors.
- Larvae reduces susceptible timber to gritty, cigar-shaped pellets.
- Causes circular 2mm holes in the timber surface, which may penetrate paint or wall sheeting, caused when mature larvae pupate and adults emerge.
- Damage progresses slowly so extensive damage may take many years.
- Infestations in very old structures are likely to have died out naturally, as all the susceptible timber was consumed. Painted wallboards often show dimpling but no new holes. This indicates the pest is extinct.
- Live adults are only found from October–February. They live for up to 4 weeks.
- Eggs are laid in cracks of susceptible timber and larvae hatch in a few weeks.
- Larvae burrow long distances and only the larval stage destroys timber.
- Tunnels run with and across the grain, giving a honeycombed appearance.
- Tunnels are packed loosely with frass (cigar-shaped pellets of chewed wood when magnified).
- Rubbed into the palm of the hand, the frass is fine and gritty, quite different from the frass of the powderpost beetle, Lyctus, which is soft and silky.
- Frass can be ejected in small amounts through flight holes.
- Before pupating, the larva moves closer to the surface and constructs a pupal chamber.
- Larvae usually take 3 years to develop.
Monitoring and action
- To prevent damage, which is less costly than treating:
- limit insect access to the timber using coverings or enclosures
- paint or polish with varnish or wax
- treat with a preservative at source.
- Relevant prevention must be carried out when constructing a building as required by the Queensland Variation of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) - Qld B1.3 (f) (iv). Consult a professional pest control agency for information about managing a suspected Queensland pine beetle infestation.
- Last reviewed: 12 Dec 2018
- Last updated: 12 Dec 2018