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The Black Polycaon Beetle

The Black Polycaon Beetle Commonly Infests Hardwood Flooring And Furniture Made Of Any Softwood Species, Sometimes For Several Years

Several beetle species see adult females lay eggs on the surface of wood in order to allow emerging larvae to bore into wood for nesting and feeding purposes. Larvae of most wood-boring beetle species excavate interior tunnels through natural wood sources only, like trees, logs, stumps and fallen branches. Unfortunately, a significant number of beetle species also bore into finished wood sources, like structural wood, furniture, and other forms of  woodwork. Naturally, beetle species that bore into finished wood sources are considered economically significant insect pests due to the costly damage they inflict to valued woodwork.

Much like termites, larvae of wood-boring beetle species excavate nesting tunnels within wood where they feed on cellulose for nutritional purposes during their maturation into adulthood. The most common wood-boring beetle pests that infest woodwork on US properties include powderpost beetles, old house borers and deathwatch beetles. The Bostrichidae family of wood-boring beetles include 700 documented species, some of which are pests of woodwork that are commonly known as “false powderpost beetles.”

The most destructive powderpost beetle species include the “leadcable borer,” the “bamboo borer,” and the “black polycaon.” Black polycaon beetles are extremely abundant in Arizona where pest control professionals frequently recover larvae from infested plywood and furniture, particularly veneer furniture. While larvae of this species can infest any softwood species, they have also been found infesting hardwood flooring and oak furniture within homes and buildings in Arizona. Black polycaon beetle larvae generally infest woodwork for around one year before reaching maturity, at which point they emerge from wood through small exit holes that are around 7 mm in diameter. These exit holes are visible on the surface of damaged woodwork, and in rare cases, larvae have infested finished wood items for as long as 20 years before reaching adulthood. The black and cylindrical adults are between 11 and 22 mm in length, and they often enter homes due to their attraction to artificial light sources.

Have you ever encountered flying beetles around your indoor or outdoor lights?

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A Beetle That Produces A Toxin Strong Enough To Kill A Horse Attacked An Arizona Woman, Landing Her In The ER

A Beetle That Produces A Toxin Strong Enough To Kill A Horse Attacked An Arizona Woman, Landing Her In The ER

Arizona is home to numerous menacing arthropod species, such as bark scorpions, harvester ants, and on occasion, Africanized honey bees, or killer bees, as they are commonly known. Blister beetles are yet another group of insects in Arizona that you want to avoid. Although blister beetles don’t bite, like kissing bugs, or sting, like scorpions, these insects do emit a toxic compound that, when exposed to skin, causes an intense burning sensation that, like their name suggests, causes painful blisters. According to one Arizona doctor, the blisters that form on human skin as a result of coming into contact with blister beetle toxins, resemble a typical chemical burn. Blister beetle toxins are particularly harmful to horses, as blister beetle toxins are sometimes contained within the hay that horses consume. It is not uncommon for horses to become extremely ill, or even die as a result of eating hay containing  blister beetle toxins. There also exists plenty of incidents involving medically significant cases of humans falling victim to blister beetle toxins. For example, during the early summer of 2018, a Phoenix woman developed a nasty burn after being exposed to blister beetle toxins.

Dr. Joanna Woods was watching a movie at a theater in the Valley when she made contact with a blister beetle. The pain Dr. Woods experienced as a result of this exposure was described as feeling like her arm could not be removed from a hot skillet. Initially, Dr. Woods thought that she had sustained bed bug bites, as her wound consisted of red welts, but later on, the pain set in, and the welts began to look more like one big chemical burn that had developed blisters. At first, medical professionals were not sure what sort of injury Dr. Woods had sustained, but it eventually became clear that she had come into contact with a blister beetle. Due to her injury, Dr. Woods developed an infection and had to be hospitalized for two nights.

Do you know of any other insects that emit a corrosive substance that can be harmful to humans and animals?