Boring Insects of Ficus

From the ornamental Ficus benjamina, which is a common houseplant, to the Ficus carica or edible fig, the Ficus genus contains at least 850 species of plants. Many of them have tropical origins, making them sensitive to frost and cold weather. The California Rare Fruit Growers website lists 19 varieties of edible figs. Both the wood and fruit of fig trees can come under attack by several types of beetles that bore into the plant.

Longhorned Beetles

The Asian longhorned beetle was accidentally introduced to the eastern United States from its native countries of China and Korea in the late 1980s. According to the University of Vermont, the longhorned beetle can kill many types of hardwood trees, such as maples, ashes, willows and poplars, in addition to fig trees. The adult insect is black with white spots and grows up to 1 1/4 inches long. When it attacks a tree, this beetle drills holes into the bark, which serves to interrupt the flow of sap and eventually weakens the tree's strength and vigor. Adult beetles are active from June through November. The long-jawed longhorn beetle exists in southern Texas, Florida and into Central America. It is commonly found on fig trees that have wounds that ooze sap, according to This relative of the Asian longhorned beetle has yellow-orange markings on its thorax and antennae and is approximately the same size as the Asian longhorned beetle. Expect to find the adult form of insect from June through September.

Snout Beetle

The snout beetle is a type of weevil that is often found boring into the trunks of fig trees, causing them to weaken and sometimes die. Marshallius bonelli is the biological name for this insect, which lives in Australia, Brazil and other areas with subtropical climates. All members of the weevil family fall into the family known as Curculionidae.

Fig Beetle

The fig beetle, or Cotinus texana, is bright green in color and about 1 inch long. It occurs in Southern California and is a pest of figs growing on trees in the summer months. During the rest of the year, its larvae live in dark, hidden places, either in the ground or under compost piles and other organic materials such as piles of manure. Belonging to the scarab family, fig beetles are common in the southern parts of the United States. They actively fly during daylight hours. In addition to figs, they also bore into other soft fruits such as peaches.

Jewel Beetle

This destructive pest of fig trees belongs to the genus Melanophila. First recorded in Canada in 1960, several species of jewel beetles exist, all of which are highly colorful. All members of the jewel beetles are wood-boring insects, and the Melanophila species each have their own host tree: in addition to figs, they also damage firs, hemlocks and pine trees.

Keywords: fig ficus, fruit trees, pests beetles

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.