"The beetles have developed an unusual lifestyle to protect their larvae from this unlikely source of attack. Trees, it turns out, though not famous for their aggressive qualities, pick on young beetles-to-be. They’d probably claim it was self-defence too, as the larvae try to munch through their trunks. The trees have a number of tactics; they spew out sap and resin, or make their cells replicate at top speed. ‘These tiny larvae that you can hardly see with your bare eyes are squeezed by the dividing cambium cells and finally killed,’ says Helmut Schmitz, a fire-beetle expert at the University of Bonn in Germany. The trees’ bark is literally worse than the larvae’s bite.
For a fire beetle, the only good tree is a dead tree. Trees that are still alive defend themselves; trees that are dead can’t fight back. But how can an insect that’s just 1cm (less than half an inch) long kill a tree towering metres above? To find out, we should examine the insect for super-powers. "