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Poplar gall borer

Poplar gall borer - Damage (gall) on a trembling aspen branch
  • Latin name: Saperda populnea moesta LeConte
  • French name: Saperde noire du peuplier
  • Order: Coleoptera
  • Family: Cerambycidae




Twig, Branch

Damage, symptoms and biology

The main damage caused by the poplar gall borer relates to larval activity in the small-diameter twigs and branches of poplars. The insect can be readily detected from the gall-like swelling that appears on the twig where the larva is excavating its gallery.

Branches that become weakened at these points can break during gusty, high winds. Adults feed on the foliage and tender bark of twigs and cut U-shaped slits in the host species' bark for egg-laying. Since the poplar gall borer only damages branches, the tree can survive without difficulty.

The insect's life cycle spans over more than a year.

Life cycle (East of the Rockies)

Life cycle (East of the Rockies)
Stage/Month J F M A M J J A S O N D

Other information

Poplar gall borer damage has been reported mainly in Eastern North America.

When damage is found on ornamental trees, the insect can be stopped from spreading by pruning off affected branches before the adults emerge in the spring.

Canadian Forest Service Publications

Poplar gall borer

Diet and feeding behaviour

  • Xylophagous : Feeds on woody tissues (wood).
    • Borer: Bores into and feeds on the woody and non-woody portions of plants.
    : Feeds on woody tissues (wood).
    • Gall-forming: Induces the formation of galls and feeds on their tissues.
Information on host(s)

Main host(s)

Balsam poplar, trembling aspen


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