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Hylotrupes bajulus is a species of wood-boring beetle variously known as the European House Borer, house longhorn beetle, Italian beetle, old-house borer, and other regional names. The species is the only one described in that genus to date. In spite of the modest length of its antennae, it is a member of the family Cerambycidae, the longhorn beetles. It is the only Cerambycid beetle that re-infests the same wood that it emerged from. Originating in Europe, and having been spread in timber and wood products, the beetle now has a practically cosmopolitan distribution, including Southern Africa, Asia, the Americas, Australia, and much of Europe and the Mediterranean.
Hylotrupes bajulus preferentially attacks freshly produced sapwood of softwood timber, in Australia particularly pine, so, contrary to the name "old-house borer", the species is more often found in new houses; maybe because the beetles are attracted to the higher resin content of wood harvested more recently than 10 years earlier. If old wood is attacked, the damage is usually greater. As the nutrient content of wood decreases with age the larvea has to consume larger amounts of wood. In Australia the infection of home construction is mainly caused by the use of wood already infected with the eggs or larvae of the beetles if the wood is not properly kiln-dried in production.
The life cycle from egg to egg typically takes two to ten years, depending on the type of wood, its age and quality, its moisture content, and also depending on environmental conditions such as temperature. Only the larvae feed on the wood. Larvae usually pupate just beneath the wood surface and eclose in mid to late summer. Once the exoskeleton of the newly emerged adult beetle has hardened sufficiently the adults cut oval exit holes 6–10 mm (¼ to 3/8 in) in diameter, typically leaving coarse, powdery frass in the vicinity of the hole. Adults are most active in the summer. They are brown to black, appearing grey because of a fine grey furriness on most of the upper surface. On the pronotum two conspicuously hairless tubercles are characteristic of the species.
- Victoria Government Gazette No. G 13 Thursday 27 March 2014 [www.gazette.vic.gov.au]
- Körting A. 1961: „Zur Entwicklung und Schadtätigkeit des Hausbockkäfers (Hylotrupes bajulus L.) in Dachstühlen verschiedenen Alters“ Anz. Schädlingskunde, 34/10, Page 150–153
- M Grimm (2005): Incursion of Hylotrupes bajulus Linnaeus (European House Borer) into Western Australia The International Research Group on Wood Protection. IRG/WP 05-10558
- M Grimm, R J Cunningham, M Castalanelli, D Collins, L Vagg (2009): European House Borer Hylotrupes bajulus Linnaeus in Western Australia: the anatomy of an eradication program. The International Research Group on Wood Protection. IRG/WP 09-20403
- The Old House Borer, Penn State Department of Entomology web site
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