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Photographer: Michael C. Thomas
Source: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Cover photo: Michael C. Thomas

Redbay Ambrosia Beetle

Xyleborus glabratus

Origin: Native of Southeast Asia

Impact: The redbay ambrosia beetle is a known vector of the vascular fungus Raffaelea lauricola, which causes the host plant to wilt and die within a matter of months or even weeks. In the southeastern United States, the reported hosts of the redbay ambrosia beetle/laurel wilt pathogen have included the red bay (Persea borbonia), silk bay (P. borbonia var. humbles), swamp bay (P. palustris ), sassafras (Sassafras album), and avocado (P. americana ) (Mayfield, 2007; Mayfield, 2008). The laurel wilt pathogen has also been recovered in the southeastern United States from diseased plants of pond berry (Lindera melissifolia), camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora), and pond spice (Litsea aestivates) trees. Flight allows the beetle to transfer the fungus to hosts rapidly with an increase of host mortality. The loss of redbay is detrimental to wildlife that utilize the plant as fruit. Foliage and seed of redbay is eaten by songbirds, wild turkeys, quail, deer, and black bear.

Signs and symptoms of laurel wilt are easy to recognize and include discolored foliage and staining of the sapwood of the host plant. Often, noodle-like exudations of sawdust are visible where the small ambrosia beetles penetrate the wood.

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Species Profile Page

Report Form

If you have spotted Xyleborus glabratus (Redbay Ambrosia Beetle ), use this report form to send an email to the appropriate authorities.

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