The Ambrosia Beetle

an invasive species of North Carolina

The ambrosia beetle is an insect with an origin in tropical and subtropical Asia.

Although it is native to specific parts of Asia, it has spread throughout equatorial Africa, India, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, southeast Asia, Indonesia, New Guinea, South Pacific, Hawaii, and the United States.

The ambrosia beetle spread to other parts of the world through natural distribution and contaminated plant material.

The beetle has done extensive damage to the trees in North Carolina.

Female beetles bore into the wood of young trees and stems. They infect the trees with ambrosia fungus, which the beetles use for food. The openings the beetles create make entries for pathogenic fungi. Young trees typically die, and few older trees survive.

What can we do to manage the beetles?

  • Cutting down trees once they become infected with the beetles and spraying trees with approved insecticides when beetle activity starts in our area.