Friday Beetle Blogging: Megacyllene Locust Borer

Megacyllene robiniae - Locust Borer

Champaign, Illinois

Goldenrod flowers are a magnet for late summer insects, and among the most spectacular attractions is the locust borer, a wasp-striped longhorn beetle.  They gather on the flowers to mate and to feed on pollen.

Megacyllene larvae are pests of black locust trees.  Their burrows in the wood damage trees directly, but more seriously, the wounds expose the tree to an even more damaging fungus. Pesty or no, they are charismatic insects and much more cooperative photographic subjects than the ants I usually shoot.

photo details (top 3 photos): Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D

ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec, flash diffused through tracing paper

photo details (bottom photo): Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon 20D

ISO 200, f/11, 1/160 sec, indirect strobe in a white box

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Nice pics, Alex. I've decided I need to take the plung and get a good digital SLR and macro, but I can only do one macro for now - would you recommend the f2.8?

regards -- ted

Hi Ted. As your beetles are relatively large, I'd definitely go with Canon's 100mm f2.8 macro. It's a great lens, and not just for bug pictures. It takes fine people portraits, too. I've used it for weddings and events.

Make sure you budget for a flash unit, too. Very important. If you have to keep the costs down, skimp on the camera itself. The older models work just fine.