Redbay Ambrosia Beetle

Laura is commited to stopping the dastardly Laurel Wilt disease that threatens trees and plants. She needs you to know about this bad bug!  Check out the field guide below and then scroll to the bottom of the page to learn how you can help!

Printable Field Guide: PDF

  • Magnified side view of an adult redbay ambrosia beetle. These tiny bugs are usually about 0.08 inches (2 millimeters) long!  Photo Credit: Michael C. Thomas, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org

  • Magnified top view of adult redbay ambrosia beetle. These tiny bugs are usually about 0.08 inches (2 millimeters) long!  Photo Credit: Michael C. Thomas, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org

  • Close-up of wood from a redbay tree showing an egg of the redbay ambrosia beetle.  Photo Credit: Karolynne Griffiths, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

  • Close-up of a redbay ambrosia beetle larva.  Photo Credit: Andrew Derksen, FDACS/DPI, Bugwood.org

  • Close-up of the fungus, Raffaelea lauricola, that causes laurel wilt. Once deposited by the beetle, this fungus spreads throughout the tree's xylem and clogs it, preventing the tree from conducting water.  Photo Credit: Carrie Lapaire Harmon, Southern Plant Diagnostic Network, Bugwood.org

  • Leaves and fruit of pondberry, Lindera melissifolia, which is an federally endagered plant and one of our native shrubs vulnerable to laurel wilt. Photo Credit: Jerry A. Payne, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

  • Beautiful fall color of the sassafras tree, one of the members of the Laurel family that is susceptible to laurel wilt.  Photo Credit: The Dow Gardens Archive, Dow Gardens, Bugwood.org

  • Close-up of sassafras showing three different leaf shapes that frequently occur on the same plant!  Photo Credit: Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org

  • Sassafras leaves in summer.  Photo Credit: Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org

  • Leaves and fruit of pondspice, Litsea aestivalis, which is one of our native shrubs vulnerable to laurel wilt.  Photo Credit: James Johnson, Georgia Forestry Commission, Bugwood.org

  • Leaves and fruit of the redbay tree, which is one of the common hosts of the redbay ambrosia beetle and is susceptible to laurel wilt.  Photo Credit: Franklin Bonner, USFS (ret.), Bugwood.org

  • Close-up of showing the dark glossy green top and paler grayish leaves of the redbay tree.  Photo Credit: Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

  • Classic example of the redbay tree, a member of the Laurel family and important native coastal plant species. Photo Credit: Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

  • Browned leaves of redbay trees indicating the dieback of infected trees.  Photo Credit: James Johnson, Georgia Forestry Commission, Bugwood.org

  • Cross section of redbay showing the gallery tunnels created by the burrowing beetles.  Photo Credit: James Johnson, Georgia Forestry Commission, Bugwood.org

  • Close-up of redbay showing leaf browning in the upper crown of the tree.  Photo Credit: Albert (Bud) Mayfield, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

  • Close-up of redbay bark showing the sawdust tubes created by burrowing beetles.  Photo Credit: James Johnson, Georgia Forestry Commission, Bugwood.org

  • The tiny hole below the finger is the entrance hole of the redbay ambrosia beetle. The dark stains in the wood are caused by the laurel wilt fungus that the beetle introduced.  Photo Credit: Albert (Bud) Mayfield, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

  • Close-up of entrance holes created by the redbay ambrosia beetle. These tiny holes are often less that 0.04 inches (1 millimeter) wide!  Photo Credit: Albert (Bud) Mayfield, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

  • Close-up showing the discoloration of redbay leaves caused by laurel wilt.  Photo Credit: Albert (Bud) Mayfield, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

  • Redbay tree showing a flush of green "epicormic" shoots on the lower trunk, which is a good clue that the tree is infected.  Photo Credit: Ronald F. Billings, Texas Forest Service, Bugwood.org

  • Aerial trap to catch redbay ambrosia beetles.  Photo Credit: Albert (Bud) Mayfield, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Scientific Name: Xyleborus glabratus

Description: Small, elongated cylindrical-shaped beetle about 0.08 inches (2 millimeters) long; has a blackish coloration.

Native Range: India, Japan, Myanmar, and Taiwan

Introduced Range: Southeastern United States, mostly coastal regions.

Host Trees: redbay, sassafras, avocado 

The Facts: Let's remember, some non-native bugs can have devastating effects on tree health and economic well-being when they invade an ecosystem. This Redbay Ambrosia Beetle likes to infest host tissue in woody plants in the Lauraceae (Laurel) family, including redbay, sassafras, and even avocado trees. Many of the Laurel family trees in Southern US coastal regions are subject to this beetle and the fungal spores it carries on its body. Once inside the tree, the spreading fungus creates a food supply for growing beetles, but it also clogs the tissues that plants use to transport water, hence the name Laurel Wilt. This disease can be deadly to trees and the wildlife that rely on them.