Locust Borer Beetle

The Locust Borer (M. robiniae) is a serious pest to Robinia pseudoacacia in North America. The name is derived from the Latin name "Robinia" which is the same as the genus of locust on which the larvae feed.

From a distance they can easily be mistaken for a wasp or bee, even at a closer look they are often mistaken for M. caryae or M. decora. The adult beetle grows between 12 and 20 mm and have a W-shaped 3rd stripe on their elytra. Both sexes antenna are dark brown while male's antenna are two-thirds its body length and the female's are one-half. Their legs are reddish-brown.

The range has grown over the years seeing as it follows the R. pseudoacacia's range. As more and more people use the Black locust as an ornamental tree the range of M. robiniae grows. They can be found almost anywhere unprotected Black locust grow, often more abundant with Solidago. The females are often found running up and down Black Locust trunks in search for wounds to lay their eggs in. Both sexes are most common from late day to dusk. Because of the adults primary food they tend to stay in uncultivated fields and meadows.

Adults lay their eggs in locust trees in the fall, later the larvae will hatch and spend the winter hibernating within the bark. Once winter ends the larvae will burrow into the tree trunk and start to tunnel, these tunnels are around 4 in long and 0.25 in wide. The larvae will then pupate in late July and early August; the adults will start to emerge in late August and throughout September.

all Photos by Christopher Stokes / © Christopher Stokes 2012
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