Common Names: Ambrosia Beetle, Asian Ambrosia Beetle
Scientific Name: Order Coleoptera, family Scolytidae, Xylosandrus crassiusculus
Size: Adult - 1/8"
Identification: Females excavate galleries in stems or trunks and push out plant material which sticks together forming narrow protrusions that look like toothpicks. These protrusions are usually the first show of an infestation. One house plant can have many such protrusions.
Biology/Life Cycle: Larvae bore horizontally into tree trunks. They remain in the tunnels until mature, then they mate and the females leave the host plant. Males are flightless and die in the host plant. A generation may be completed as fast as 20 days or take up to 4 months. Usually one generation per year.
Habitat: Tree and tropical plant trunks. Host plants include over 120 known plants, including pecan, Chinese pistachio, red oak, bur oak, red bud, bradford pear and chinquapin oak.
Feeding Habits: Females bore into plant trunks and inoculate the tunnel with fungal spores. Then the females produce a brood. The larvae and the females feed on the developing fungus rather than the host plant.
Economic Importance: Heavily infested plants usually die from the inoculated fungus or a secondary disease.
Natural Control: No predators discovered yet.
Organic Control: Keep trees in healthy state and compost infested wood at earliest detection. You can also cut down the infested tree and let it rot.
Insight: This pest for now is mostly located in East Texas.