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Another beetle whose larvae are woodworms, and can affect furniture, for example, is the longhorn beetle. There are many different species of this longhorn beetle, which thus belongs to the family of beetles, and we are looking primarily at the house longhorn beetle. The house longhorn beetle, as its name suggests, is the most common longhorn beetle in human-inhabited areas. Moreover, in the US it is the only longhorn beetle that causes damage to humans.
Adult longhorn beetles have an elongated body with long antennae. A unique characteristic of longhorn beetles is that they have beautiful colors, although the house longhorn beetle is often simply black. A house longhorn beetle grows between 1cm and 2.5cm long. The house longhorn beetle has a round neck shield with two protrusions and it is covered with tiny white hairs. This is still very small, as there are also longhorn beetles that grow up to 15cm long.
There is much variation within the different species of longhorn beetles, but most live as beetles mainly on tree sap, nectar and pollen. There are also species of longhorn beetles that barely eat and give most of their energy to reproduction. The house longhorn beetle does not live on wood, as you might expect, but so indeed on tree sap, nectar and pollen. What may be surprising is that the beetles only live for 2 weeks, while the larvae can live up to 10 years, yet 4 to 5 years is more common. These larvae live on wood, of which most longhorn beetle species live on wet wood, in this the longhorn beetle is the exception. This is because it also lives on dry wood, which is exactly the wood our furniture is made of.
Most longhorn beetles are found only in the forest, where the larvae live off the wet wood, unlike the house longhorn beetle, which is also found in houses. Actually, you find them anywhere there is dry wood. Longhorn beetles found in the Uinclude the spruce longhorn beetle, whose larvae feed mainly on spruce trees, the small wasp longhorn beetle, which resembles a wasp because of its yellow stripes, the red narrow-winged longhorn beetle and the variable longhorn beetle.
After mating, females lay their eggs in a piece of wood, and they can lay up to 200 per mating. The larvae hatch from their eggs after a few weeks to up to a month. Here they start eating, and they eat away a lot of wood. They can live in this wood for up to 10 years, and after a few years they will move deeper and deeper into the wood. The larvae look like maggots; they are white and resemble a worm. They pupate at some point after which they grow up to 3cm long and look more like a white caterpillar. It also has an orange-colored head. Eventually, the larva will make its way out and fly away, this can be after 4 years or as late as 10 years. The burrows they have left behind are about 5mm thick, but the opening is about 1cm.
Longhorn beetles have no known natural enemies, except humans when the house longhorn beetle is in the wood inside us. Also, insect lovers are huge fans of the other longhorn beetle species because they are such colorful insects.
In general, we are no longer incredibly bothered by the longhorn beetle in the US, but it can still cause damage. This is about indoors, because in forests other species of longhorn beetles can still cause damage. Indoors, they can cause damage to art pieces, furniture but also to roof structures. You can recognize longhorn beetles in your furniture, for example, by the typical sound they make, which sounds as if the wood is being gnawed. You can also find exit holes that are about 1cm wide.
If you think there are indeed longhorn beetles in your house then it is wise to call professional pest control for this, as this becomes very difficult if not impossible to do on your own.
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