Pine timber roof environments in Western Australia and its susceptibility to European House Borer

In January 2004 the exotic pest European House Borer (EHB), (Hylotrupes bajulus) was found in Perth’s eastern suburbs. EHB is a pest of seasoned, untreated pine wood and timber, infesting dead parts of pine trees, pine furniture as well as structural pine timber. This project tested to see if EHB beetles can initiate and sustain infestations in untreated pine framing in roof spaces despite Perth’s high summer temperatures.

Test cages containing lengths of untreated commercial kiln dried pine were installed in the roofs and living spaces of 6 test houses built close to a known infested plantation. Survival rates for both EHB adults and larvae were monitored.

The results show clearly that temperature does not prevent infestation by EHB, and that they can infest pine framing under current Australian construction practices. The pine timber production, building and pest control industries need to consider EHB risks. Manufacturers of structural and other pinewood should consider producing treated pine products to H3 standard (AS1604) for all pine timber sold in WA.

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