Frass refers loosely to the more or less solid excreta of insects, and to certain other related matter.
Frass is an informal term and accordingly it is variously used and variously defined. It is derived from the German word Fraß, which means the food takeup of an insect.The English usage applies to excreted residues of anything that insects had eaten, and similarly, to other chewed or mined refuse that insects leave behind. It does not generally refer to fluids such as honeydew, but the point does not generally arise, and is largely ignored in this article.
Such usage in English originated in the mid-nineteenth century at the latest.Modern technical English sources differ on the precise definition, though there is little actual direct contradiction on the practical realities. One glossary from the early twentieth century speaks of "...excrement; usually the excreted pellets of caterpillars." In some contexts frass refers primarily to fine, masticated material, often powdery, that phytophagous insects pass as indigestible waste after they have processed plant tissues as completely as their physiology would permit. Other common examples of how frass types may differ, include the fecal material that insects such as the larvae of codling moths leave as they feed inside fruit or seed, or that the likes of Terastia meticulosalis leave as they bore in the pith of Erythrina twigs.
Various forms of frass may result from the nature of the food and the digestive systems of the species of insect that excreted the material. For example, many caterpillars, especially large, leaf-eating caterpillars in families such as Saturniidae, produce quite elaborately moulded pellets that may be conspicuous on the ground beneath plants in which they feed. In the tunnels they eat in the leaves on which they feed, leaf miners commonly leave visible amorphous frass residues of the pulp of the mesophyll. Their frass commonly does not fill the tunnel.
In contrast larvae of most powder post beetles partly eject their finely granular frass from their tunnels when boring in the wood on which they feed, while the larvae of most dry-wood Cerambycidae leave their frass packed tightly into the tunnels behind them. Many other species of wood borers also leave the tunnels behind them tightly packed with dry frass, which may be either finely powdery or coarsely sawdusty. Possibly this is partly as a defence against other borer larvae, many species of which are cannibalistic, or it might serve to reduce attacks from some kinds of predatory mites or soak up fluids that a live tree might secrete into the tunnel.
Loose, fibrous frass of some moths in the family Cossidae, such as Coryphodema tristis , may be seen protruding from the mouths of their tunnels in tree trunks, especially shortly before they emerge as adult moths. In this respect their frass differs from the powdery frass of powder post beetles such as Lyctus.
Borer tunnels may occur either in dry or rotting wood or under bark, in the comparatively soft, nutritious bast tissue, either dead or living.
Yet another effect arises when the boring insect does not digest the wood or other medium itself, but bores tunnels in which yeasts or other fungi grow, possibly stimulated by excretions and secretions of the insects. Such tunnels obviously cannot be permitted to become clogged, or the insects could not access their own pastures, so they either must eject at least part of their frass, or otherwise leave room for the edible growth. Examples of such boring-insect/fungal associations include Ambrosia beetles with Ambrosia fungi, Sirex woodwasp with its fungal partner Amylostereum areolatum , and more.
In a significantly different sense the term "frass" also may refer to excavated wood shavings that carpenter ants, carpenter bees and other insects with similar wood-boring habits eject from their galleries during the tunneling process. Such material differs from the frass residues of foods, because insects that tunnel to construct such nests do not eat the wood, so the material that they discard as they tunnel has not passed through their gut.In concept the difference is categorical, but even professional entomologists might need suitable instruments and detailed examination to distinguish the categories.
Contact with frass causes plants to secrete chitinase in response to its high chitin levels.[ citation needed ] Frass is a natural bloom stimulant,[ citation needed ] and has high nutrient levels. Frass contains abundant amoebae, beneficial bacteria, and fungi.[ citation needed ] Accordingly, it is a microbial inoculant, in particular a soil inoculant, a source of desirable microbes, that promotes the formation of compost[ citation needed ]. It is an important recycler of nutrients in rainforests, and favours plant health.[ citation needed ]
Many insect species, usually in their larval stages, accumulate their frass and cover themselves with it either to disguise their presence, or as a repugnatorial covering.
The Tachinidae are a large and variable family of true flies within the insect order Diptera, with more than 8,200 known species and many more to be discovered. Over 1300 species have been described in North America alone. Insects in this family commonly are called tachinid flies or simply tachinids. As far as is known, they all are protelean parasitoids, or occasionally parasites, of arthropods, usually other insects. The family is known from many habitats in all zoogeographical regions and is especially diverse in South America.
Ambrosia beetles are beetles of the weevil subfamilies Scolytinae and Platypodinae, which live in nutritional symbiosis with ambrosia fungi. The beetles excavate tunnels in dead or stressed trees in which they cultivate fungal gardens, their sole source of nutrition. After landing on a suitable tree, an ambrosia beetle excavates a tunnel in which it releases spores of its fungal symbiont. The fungus penetrates the plant's xylem tissue, extracts nutrients from it, and concentrates the nutrients on and near the surface of the beetle gallery. Ambrosia fungi are typically poor wood degraders, and instead utilize less demanding nutrients. The majority of ambrosia beetles colonize xylem of recently dead trees, but some attack stressed trees that are still alive, and a few species attack healthy trees. Species differ in their preference for different parts of trees, different stages of deterioration, and in the shape of their tunnels ("galleries"). However, the majority of ambrosia beetles are not specialized to any taxonomic group of hosts, unlike most phytophagous organisms including the closely related bark beetles. One species of ambrosia beetle, Austroplatypus incompertus exhibits eusociality, one of the few organisms outside of Hymenoptera and Isoptera to do so.
Bookworm is a general name for any insect that is said to bore through books.
A woodworm is the wood-eating larva of many species of beetle. It is also a generic description given to the infestation of a wooden item by these larvae.
The deathwatch beetle is a species of woodboring beetle that sometimes infests the structural timbers of old buildings. The adult beetle is brown and measures on average 7 mm (0.3 in) long. Eggs are laid in dark crevices in old wood inside buildings, trees, and inside tunnels left behind by previous larvae. The larvae bore into the timber, feeding for up to ten years before pupating, and later emerging from the wood as adult beetles. Timber that has been damp and is affected by fungal decay is soft enough for the larvae to chew through. They obtain sufficient nourishment by using a number of enzymes present in their gut to digest the cellulose and hemicellulose in the wood.
Powderpost beetles are a group of seventy species of woodboring beetles classified in the insect subfamily Lyctinae. These beetles, along with spider beetles, death watch beetles, common furniture beetles, skin beetles, and others, make up the superfamily Bostrichoidea. While most woodborers have a large prothorax, powderpost beetles do not, making their heads more visible. In addition to this, their antennae have two-jointed clubs. They are considered pests and attack deciduous trees, over time reducing the wood to a powdery dust. The damage caused by longhorn beetles is often confused with that of powderpost beetles, but the two groups are unrelated. The larvae of the Cerambycidae are white, straight and generally flat-headed, whereas those of the Bostrichidae are white and C-shaped.
The term woodboring beetle encompasses many species and families of beetles whose larval or adult forms eat and destroy wood. In the woodworking industry, larval stages of some are sometimes referred to as woodworms. The three most speciose families of woodboring beetles are longhorn beetles, bark beetles and weevils, and metallic flat-headed borers.
Hylotrupes is a monotypic genus of woodboring beetles in the family Cerambycidae, the longhorn beetles. The sole species, Hylotrupes bajulus, is known by several common names, including house longhorn beetle, old house borer, and European house borer. It is the only genus in the tribe Hylotrupini.
Cleridae are a family of beetles of the superfamily Cleroidea. They are commonly known as checkered beetles. The family Cleridae has a worldwide distribution, and a variety of habitats and feeding preferences.
The wharf borer, Nacerdes melanura, belongs to the insect order Coleoptera, the beetles. They belong to the family Oedemeridae, which are commonly known as false blister beetles. Wharf borers are present in all the states of the USA except for Florida. It takes about a year to develop from an egg to an adult. The insect is called the 'wharf borer' because the larval stage of this insect is often found on pilings and timbers of wharves, especially along coastal areas. The adult beetles can be identified via a black band across the end of both elytra, or wing covers. In addition, wharf borers can be distinguished from other members of the family Oedemeridae via the presence of a single spur on the tibia of the forelegs, and the distance between both eyes. Eggs are oviposited on rotten wood where larvae hatch and burrow to feed on rotten wood. Adults do not feed and depend on stored energy reserves accumulated during the larval stage. They are considered to be a pest because they damage wood used in building infrastructures.
Home-stored product entomology is the study of insects which infest foodstuffs stored in the home. It deals with the prevention, detection and eradication of the pests. The five major categories of insects considered in this article are flour beetles, the drugstore beetle, the sawtoothed grain beetle, the Indianmeal moth and fruit flies.
Dioryctria sylvestrella, the new pine knot-horn or maritime pine borer, is a moth of the family Pyralidae. It is found in Europe, parts of Asia and North Africa. The adult is a small mottled brown and white insect with a wingspan of 28 to 35 mm. The moth flies in a single generation from June to October and is a pest of maritime pine and several other species of pine, on which the caterpillars feed.
Brithys crini, the amaryllis borer, crinum borer, lily borer or Kew arches, is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is a garden pest in parts of its range, as their larvae damage the stems and leaves of lilies, especially lilies of the family Amaryllidaceae.
Busseola fusca is a species of moth that is also known as the maize stalk borer. It is known from Ethiopia.
Platypus apicalis, known by its common name the New Zealand pinhole boring beetle, is a wood boring beetle endemic to New Zealand and found throughout the North and South Island in a range of environments.
Xylosandrus compactus is a species of ambrosia beetle. Common names for this beetle include black twig borer, black coffee borer, black coffee twig borer and tea stem borer. The adult beetle is dark brown or black and inconspicuous; it bores into a twig of a host plant and lays its eggs, and the larvae create further tunnels through the plant tissues. These beetles are agricultural pests that damage the shoots of such crops as coffee, tea, cocoa and avocado.
Platypus cylindrus, commonly known as the oak pinhole borer, is a species of ambrosia beetle in the weevil family Scolytinae. The adults and larvae burrow under the bark of mature oak trees. It is native to Europe.
Xyloterinus is a genus of typical bark beetles in the family Curculionidae. This is a monotypic genus and the one described species is Xyloterinus politus. It is native to North America where it infests both hardwood and softwood trees, as well as stacks of logs.
Platypus quercivorus, the oak ambrosia beetle, is a species of weevil and pest of broad-leaved trees. This species is most commonly known for vectoring the fungus responsible for excessive oak dieback in Japan since the 1980s. It is found in Japan, India, Indonesia, New Guinea, and Taiwan.
The lemon tree borer, also known as the whistling beetle or the singing beetle, is a longhorn beetle endemic to New Zealand. Its larvae are generalist feeders, boring into the wood of a wide variety of trees, native and introduced. When citrus orchards were first established in New Zealand, this beetle started inflicting serious damage, and so gained the name "lemon tree borer". Four species within the genus Oemona have been identified, suggesting that more species could be found. When disturbed by predators or humans, the adult beetle stridulates creating a "rasp" or "squeak" sound by rubbing its thorax and head together against an area of thin ridges. Māori would eat a liquid called "pia manuka", which was produced by manuka trees when its wood was damaged by the larva. When Captain Cook first arrived in NZ, his naturalists, Banks and Solander, collected a lemon tree borer in their first collection between 1769-1771. This oldest collected specimen can be found in the British Museum. A few years after the first collection, the species would be first described by the Danish naturalist Fabricius in 1775.
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