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Poplar borer

Poplar borer - Adult male
  • Latin name: Saperda calcarata Say
  • French name: Saperde du peuplier
  • Order: Coleoptera
  • Family: Cerambycidae




Trunk, Root collar, Root

Damage, symptoms and biology

Swollen bark areas, sap run and piles of frass around the entrance to galleries near the base of the trunk and the roots are signs of the poplar borer’s presence. Bark swelling caused by larval activity is more visible in young poplars. The insect prefers trees with a diameter just over 10 cm, in low density stands.

The insect has a long life cycle, extending over 3 to 4 years. The adults feed on the foliage and the tender bark of twigs. The females lay their eggs in slits they have cut in the bark. After hatching, the larvae begin feeding in the cambium and then penetrate into the heartwood by creating deep galleries. In the spring of the last year of larval development, the larvae change into pupae and then into adults.

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

The poplar borer is a species native to North America. It is found throughout the geographic range of poplar in Canada and the United States. The borer usually attacks poplars growing on poor sites.

Canadian Forest Service Publications

Poplar borer

Diet and feeding behaviour

  • Phloeophagous : Feeds on phloem.
    • 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)

Balsam poplar, eastern cottonwood, trembling aspen


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