Recycled timber – Ambrosia Beetle markings
Ever looked at some beautiful recycled timber and wondered what some of the markings were or what caused them?
A very common feature found in old timber is the markings left behind by Ambrosia Beetles. Often called Pin Hole borers they are actually from the weevil family. Female Ambrosia Beetles burrow tunnels into sapwood and heart wood of moist, mostly dead trees and lay eggs which when hatched feed on fungal spores left behind by the parent beetle. They don’t actually eat the wood. They survive on fungal farms germinated within these tunnels. Hatched, they fly out of the holes on the tree trunk whilst the fungus leaves behind a dark stain. Once the timber is milled these beetles cease living being unable to live in dry timber posing no threat structurally and re- infestation cannot reoccur.
There are numerous species of this beatle and different types inhabit different parts of the tree preferring differing levels of deterioration and leave different tunnel patterns. Below you can see larvae about to hatch in a tunnel made by these small beetles.
Below is the markings a colony of beetles have left in Wormy Chestnut timber. Notice the dark fungal stains. Being ingrained in the timber it can’t be sanded out. Instead we choose to either fill the holes with a clear resin or matching wood filler depending on the size of the hole and colour of the timber.
So next time you are looking at a natural timber surface see If you can see the remnants of an Ambrosia Beetles home!