Platypodid Ambrosia Beetle

Common Name: Platypodid Ambrosia Beetle

Latin Name: Platypus wilsoni

Common Family Name: Flat-footed Ambrosia beetles

Latin Family Name: Platypodidae

Other Names: Pin-hole borers

Origin: Native to North America, with only one genus in the family in the U.S.

Biology: This is a beetle of minor importance to structural wood members, and it is only one of the beetles often called “ambrosia” beetles, a name derived from the fact that the larvae actually feed on ambrosia fungus that grows in the wood, having been introduced by the ovipositing female beetle. As the fungus grows and the larvae feed on it the tunnels in the wood are stained dark blue, black, or brown. These beetles, along with the other ambrosia beetles in the family Scolytidae, are destructive to living trees, but do not survive in structural wood members and will not re-infest. Their presence there is only due to the use of infested lumber.

Identification: The adult beetles are about ¼ inch long and are very thin and elongate, and flattened from top to bottom, a feature which helps distinguish them from the more cylindrical bark beetles. The color is dark brown with long yellow hairs over the body, and their antennae are very short, but with the last segment greatly enlarged and bulbous. Ambrosia beetle damage is common in structural wood members, due to the use of wood that previously had the beetles in it. Narrow feeding channels are exposed by the milling of the lumber, leaving dark-stained galleries and holes at the surface. These are clear of fecal matter and often appear at the surface of the wood at an angle to the surface, rather than perpendicular to it as a re-infesting beetle would leave upon its exit.

Characteristics Important in Control: No control is needed, and adult beetles are rarely found in structural wood. Their presence usually will be due to infested firewood inside a structure.