2009-09-22 / Headlines

Little Wound High School Student Captures Wood Boring Beetle

Locust Borer, Megacyllene robinae,

On September 10, 2009, Megacyllene robiniae, also known as the locust borer, was captured by Kyle Clifford in the English trailer utilized by Little Wound High School English teacher Al Rutherford. Upon first inspection, Rutherford replied, "It looks like a wasp mimic," which it certainly does resemble in color and pattern.

Mr. Clifford brought this wood boring beetle a member of the Cerambycidae or long horn beetle family to his biology teacher Mr. Daniel Snethen for identifi- cation. Snethen quickly identified the beetle as Megacyllene robinae the locust borer. Snethen had collected these beetles in Homedale, Idaho on apricot trees but remarked he had never before seen them in South Dakota and thought this was a pretty unusual beetle for Shannon County.

Paul Johnson, the South Dakota State Entomologist informed Snethen that most records of this beetle come from Eastern SD. There are two records of it from Rapid City, SD but none from Shannon County.

Historically the locust borer was restricted to only to the Alleghany and Ozark mountain regions. This is because the black locust tree was native to these geographical locations and did not exist elsewhere in the United States. As adults, these beetles are fond of feeding on golden rod but as immature larvae they require black locust for feeding on. These larvae bore or tunnel through the trunk or branches of the black locust and can create substantial damage to these trees. Because the black locust is very capable of growing in poor soils, it has been planted in various areas throughout the United States as both a shade tree and a species for land reclamation. This in turn has expanded the known range of the locust borer beetle.

As of yet, Snethen has not been able to locate any black locust trees in Kyle. But according to Snethen, "There must be at least one black locust tree around here. As I see it, that is the only way we would have this very beautiful species of long horn beetle show up here in Kyle, SD."

This particular beetle will be shipped to Johnson the state entomologist for inclusion in the South Dakota State Entomological Collection. It will become the first official record of Megacyllene robiniae, the locust borer, from Shannon County, SD and will be one of only a few documented records for this beetle from West River SD.

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