The Redbay Ambrosia Beetle is an invasive insect from southeast Asia that was first detected in Georgia and South Carolina in 2004. Although the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle is a borer insect the damage it causes to trees is minimal. What is causing problems for Florida trees, including Laurel family trees around New Port Richey, is the Laurel Wilt disease that the beetle transmits between various host trees. Since its discovery in the United States the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle has already spread to almost half of the counties in Florida.
The Redbay Ambrosia Beetle probably made its way to the United States like a lot of invasive insects do - on wooden packing crates. Now that it’s here it can easily be moved further and faster by a variety of means. Moving infested trees, such as Avacado, Redbay trees, or Sassafras trees can spread the beetle population to new areas in Florida. The movement of other wood byproducts such as firewood, logs, tree branches, or wood chips can also accelerate the spread of the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle.
Laurel Wilt disease kills susceptible trees in Florida rather quickly, usually within one to three months after the initial infection. Symptoms of Laurel Wilt disease infection include wilting leaves, discolored leaves, or dead leaves that hang on a tree. A close inspection of the trunk or larger tree branches may reveal the presence of dried, powdery white sap. You may want to contact an arborist or tree service near New Port Richey if you suspect your tree may be infected with Laurel Wilt disease.
There are arborists or tree services near New Port Richey that offer preventative fungicide treatments to stop Laurel Wilt disease from killing your tree. The fungicide treatment will protect the tree for up to two years.
Pruning newly infected trees may stop Laurel Wilt disease from spreading throughout the tree, but this disease appears to move both up and down in the conductive tissue so tree pruning would need to be done soon after the infection occurs. If tree pruning is attempted the pruning tool used should be disinfected after every tree cut to prevent spreading the disease to different parts of the tree or to a different tree.