At this time of the year as we prepare for the cooler months, cutting and splitting firewood, we sometimes get a few surprises with ant nests, hibernating European Wasps and grubs being found. This block of Tasmanian Bluegum revealed the very nutritious larva of the Eucalyptus Longhorned Borer, (Phoracantha semipunctata). These grubs are a sought after food source for the Yellow- tailed Black Cockatoo. Don’t believe anyone who tells you these grubs taste like chicken (or almonds etc.,)! My own opinion is that they taste like peanut butter and the heads are too crunchy.
The Eucalyptus Longhorned Borer adult beetle takes advantage of stressed trees to lay eggs under the bark. The larvae that hatch eventually tunnel into the tree to pupate before emerging as adult beetles. The larvae can cause dieback in eucalypts. This Australian Native has become a successful invader of other countries (our revenge for the gift of the rabbit). While on the subject of bush tucker, this plant, the Kangaroo Apple (Solanum aviculare), was a common but short lived coloniser emerging after the 2009 fires. We had several bushes emerge on our property. It grows rapidly. Another great bird food, it is taken by rosellas when ripe and the seeds are then spread through the bush. It can be eaten when it turns orange and falls easily from the bush. Don’t try it before this stage as it is poisonous.