Friday, 28 November 2008

Limb-eating insects

Ok, thats a pretty scary sounding title for this post. But actually it is quite scary what these insects seem to be able to do. This branch fell down on top of 2 cars that were parked innocently on the side of the road.

On closer inspection, you can see the core of this branch had been entirely eaten away, and there were insects busy trying to burrow away deeper into the tree.

There were 2 of these insects on the ground next to the severed limb. They were anemic-looking and slightly translucent, and both were about 2 inches long. It looked like 2 pairs of wings were busy forming close to the head. Any ideas as to what this creature is?

Falling branches and trees seems to be on the increase in Durban lately. The windy conditions don't help, but at the core (literally) of this problem seems to be insects that eat their way into the trunks and branches of trees. Most often its white ants, but it seems other insects seem to be capable of just as much damage.

The problem is that this is all happening below the surface of apparently healthy trees. Looking at the tree itself there were no obvious signs of the damage being done on the inside. This is something that will start happening more often now that a lot of our street trees have matured and are showing signs of old age and weakening, and are therefore more susceptible to insects and disease.
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