The non-native redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus, vectors a new species of fungus, Raffaellea lauricola. Southern Research Station scientists studying the beetle’s biology and life history determined that it attacked many members of the laurel family, including sassafras and avocado.
The mysterious death of redbay trees on Hilton Head Island South Carolina and surrounding areas was first reported in local newspapers in 2003. Thousands of redbays were dying in the low country of South Carolina, and by the end of 2004 officials on Hilton Head were estimating that they had lost 75-80% of the island's redbays.
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