European House Borer (EHB) is a destructive pest of seasoned coniferous timber. It can cause major structural damage to buildings and pine furniture, as well as architraves and frames.
EHB is found in Europe, the Middle East (Turkey), North Africa, South Africa, South America, USA, and China. It has been detected several times previously in Australia but these infestations were eradicated by fumigation.
In 2004, EHB was detected in Western Australia and since then has been found in 60 Perth suburbs. A management program was put in place in 2011.
Conditions of entry into Tasmania have been developed for EHB.
EHB has not been detected in Tasmania and both the current and the new import requirements are designed to minimise the risk of it getting here.
European House Borer (EHB)
copyright: DAFWA Entomology, Pia Scanlon
Products Susceptible to EHB
- Untreated pine;
All products made from these timbers, such as building materials, furniture, ornaments, pallets, dunnage and timber packaging, are also susceptible.
How EHB Causes Damage
The adult female lays eggs into cracks, holes and joints of dead trees, dead branches of living trees and untreated pine timber. The larvae that hatch do the damage by chewing through the wood.
How EHB can be Spread
The most likely method of spread from WA to other States and Territories would be through the interstate movement of infested timber and timber products including building materials, wooden pallets, packaging and pine furniture.
Providing their food source is not exhausted, adult EHB beetles will travel only small distances. However they are considered to be strong fliers and can cover a considerable distance in search of a new food source and this can result in infestations of new areas.
What to Look Out For
EHB can be very difficult to detect in host material. Signs are not always easy to see and may not occur for years after infestation.
The damage is caused by EHB larvae boring galleries within the wood, thereby effecting the structure of the timber which is not easily visible from the outside. Borers will rarely break through the timber surface and that is how an EHB infestation often goes undetected.
The signs of EHB include:
- soft scraping sounds coming from the timber,
- 5-0 mm exit holes in the timber,
- powdery substances, wood dust found near the exit holes, and excrement (called frass) and long areas of blistering on the surface of the timber.
EHB is able to live in a wide variety of climatic conditions, although it has preference for temperate habitats. It is usually found in coastal regions.
Reporting EHB to Biosecurity Tasmania
If you notice any unusual plant pest or diseases symptoms in dry soft wood timber, please report it to Biosecurity Tasmania as soon as possible to either the all hours free call hotline 1800 084 881 or to (03) 6165 3777 (office hours).
All images courtesy:
Western Austalian Department of Agriculture and Food
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