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Twig Girdlers: The Insects that Eat Through Trees

Not long ago, a reader sent us a question about a worm or bug that eats through trees. More precisely, he said the creature eats a circle around a tree limb, causing the branch to fall to the ground. We were perplexed by this question because we had never heard of any sort of bug that eats around a tree branch, and we certainly had never heard of any worms (our specialty, after all) that could do so either. However, we have recently discovered that the insects that eat through tree branches are twig girdlers, which is about as fitting of a name as one could ever hope for – twig girdlers, well, girdle twigs. Twig girdlers are beetles, making them insects, not worms. Twig girdlers, or Oncideres pustulatus, are interesting creatures, so we decided to put together some basic information about them.