While this beetle was named for its previous status as a pest of chestnut trees, it now attacks primarily oaks, and will feed on many oak species in the eastern half of North America. Trees that are under stress from other factors, such as defoliation by caterpillars, are at particular risk. Adult beetles are active from spring to summer and females fly to upper branches to feed on foliage prior to moving back to major branches and trunks, where the female then deposits eggs in crevices in the bark. The larvae bore into the tree to feed in the cambium layers, potentially girdling the tree and cutting off nutrient and water flow.
Control is difficult once the larvae are feeding within the tree, but they may be killed by systemic insecticides injected into the trunk. Adult beetles may be killed if contact insecticides can be applied to the trunk timed to the first presence of the adult beetles. Healthy trees are generally able to withstand the presence of some of the larvae, so good tree health is important. A number of parasitic wasps also help to reduce the numbers of larvae that survive in the tree.