(Perris, ca) Today this critter crawled up my arm and pimched me while I was working in the yard. I had shaken and moved a dead eucalyptus branch out of my way and said to myself, “great now I woke up all the spiders before I sit down and work on this fence.” I live parallel an open barren field in drought stricken california.
It had fantastic antanae that it seemed to be using to help it crawl. I accidentally had smacked one of the antenna off. Under its back it had 2 clear wings And was hopping/ attmpting to fly from leaf to leaf, but I infer it was injured since I had smacked it off of my arm. It seems to have had pinschers on its face. It was very strong and agile and could flip itself over after falling on its back. It used it’s antanaes to assist itself to do this! It’s belly was dark and had a pretty pattern, but at that point my husband had come to inspect my hooting and hollering and said it may be a kissing bug…. I don’t think it is, but want to rest easy.
Could you please tell me what you think?
Yes, there are actually two species of eucalyptus borers in your area. Yours looks like P. recurva. These both were introduced in the last few decades from Australia where the eucalyptus trees originated.
The beetles are attracted to freshly cut eucalyptus wood, dying limbs, and trees suffering from stress, especially drought stress. Eucalyptus species that naturally grow in wetter areas of Australia have been planted in California and with the drought over the last few years the beetle populations have increased.
Female beetles lay their eggs under loose bark. The eggs hatch then the young larvae burrow through the bark layer and into the cambial layer which is just below the bark. The cambial layer contains the food conducting tissues and water conducting tissues. Larvae have high mortality in trees with high moisture levels because water floods feeding tunnels and drowns them.
There is research to find wasps that will parasitize and kill the larvae. Four wasps species from Australia that attack the larvae have been introduced into CA.
This insect is found in CA and AZ and only feeds on eucalyptus.
The beetles are not known to bite but perhaps it was pinched so it pinched back?