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Golden buprestid

  • Latin name: Buprestis aurulenta Linnaeus
  • French name: Bupreste doré
  • Order: Coleoptera
  • Family: Buprestidae


British Columbia

This beetle is native to western North America, ranging from central British Columbia to southern California.


Needle, Trunk, Lumber

Damage, symptoms and biology

Larvae may cause varying degrees of damage, depending on the grain of wood and the number and proximity of larval galleries. Structural damage or noticeable wood destruction is rare and only occurs in special situations, such as when a large number of larval galleries are close together in widegrained wood. Larval mining most frequently occurs in framing materials, flooring or sashwork; typically, the damage is light and is mainly limited to marring of the wood surface by emergence holes. Holes may occur in the original infested lumber or in adjoining woodwork. Unless the emergence holes are exposed to the elements, further deterioration is unlikely to occur.

Detection of infested lumber before it is used in construction may be difficult as the flattened tunnels made by early-instar larvae are small, 0.5 to 1.0 mm wide. Larvae in structures can sometimes be located by their audible chewing sounds. At other times, the location of larvae or their mines may be seen when a larval mine breaks the surface or when the mine causes a slight dimpling or troughing of the wood.

Adult beetles select recently dead trees, dying trees, or unseasoned logs on which to lay their eggs. These materials become particularly attractive when they have had bark injuries such as those caused by fire, logging, or lightning, etc. Unseasoned lumber with attached bark may also be attacked. In late spring or summer, the females seek out sites where they can lay their eggs in close proximity to wood, such as in bark crevices and scars. Eggs are laid singly or in masses, are surrounded by an adhesive secretion, and hatch soon afterwards.

The newly emerged larvae bore into the wood, usually 1 to 2 cm below the sapwood surface where they excavate mines that are enlarged as the larvae grow in size; occasionally, heartwood is penetrated. Galleries are oval or flattened in cross section and are tightly packed with fine, light-coloured frass. Walls of the galleries are finely grooved by the larvae as they feed.

Mature larvae pupate at the end of the larval galleries during late summer, transform to adults in the fall, and overwinter in the galleries. Under natural conditions in the forest, the larval stage lasts 2 to 4 years. The following spring, the adult beetles chew through to the surface, leaving typical oval emergence holes. Emerged adults require a period of feeding on Douglas-fir foliage before they mature and mate. This foliage feeding causes no significant damage. When infested wood is subjected to seasoning and low humidity, as it is in structures, the life cycle of the golden buprestid is so altered that the larvae may live up to 60 years and adults may emerge from the wood at any season.

Other information

The golden buprestid, Buprestis aurulenta Linnaeus (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), is a common wood borer of conifers in British Columbia. This beetle is most troublesome as a pest of wood in service, particularly in buildings, where its damage consists of mined timbers or boards, and exit holes cut through finished surfaces. Although the golden buprestid is common throughout much of British Columbia, it is rarely abundant enough to cause significant damage. From one to five beetles emerge from a house of average construction. Only rarely have five or more beetles been found in a single board or timber.

Canadian Forest Service Publications

Golden buprestid

Diet and feeding behaviour

  • Phyllophagous : Feeds on the leaves of plants.
    • Borer: Bores into and feeds on the woody and non-woody portions of plants.
  • Xylophagous : Feeds on woody tissues (wood).
    • Borer: Bores into and feeds on the woody and non-woody portions of plants.
Information on host(s)

Main host(s)

Lodgepole pine, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, western hemlock

Secondary host(s)

Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, western redcedar

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