Harberton Nature Notes and Pictures

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Wasp Beetle

We wondered what was making large holes in the bark of some of the logs in our log pile. If the logs remained in the pile for long enough, some pieces of bark would fall off completely, revealing large quantities of wood dust beneath and a network of tunnels at the interface between bark and hard wood beneath. Very occasionally, large holes would appear in the end of a log, but the 'damage' was mainly just under the bark. The types of  wood affected in our log pile were turkey oak and hazel, others including laurel and ash remained unaffected, although some ash logs did get 'normal' woodworm (much smaller holes) in them after a while.
The culprit? Well,  we discovered this one Spring after finding large larvae under the bark in some logs and hearing slight noises coming from the log basket. Then we found the occasional black and yellow beetle in our living room, about the size of a wasp - it was a 'wasp beetle', described as "wood-feeder as larvae, on hard, dead wood in the early stages of decay or in exposed dry situations where fungal decay is slow. [i.e. an outdoor log pile is ideal.] Adults feed on nectar and pollen of flowers".
Just as well these larvae don't get into your house timbers!

Apart from being similar in size and colour to a normal wasp, the wasp beetle also mimics the wasp in some aspects of its behaviour - but it won't sting you.

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