Texas Beetle Information

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Soapberry Borer

Agrilus prionurus Chevrolat 1838

Family Buprestidae, Subfamily Agrilinae, Tribe Agrilini

Invasive Species

Soapberry Borer - Agrilus prionurus Chevrolat 1838

Lake Corpus Christi, San Patricio County, Texas
May 15, 2007 (Crispin)

Range: Texas (introduced), Mexico (native)

First reported in Bastrop County in 2003. Since then, it has been detected in several additional counties, including near or within the cities of Austin, College Station, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Waco.

It may eventually threaten western soapberry populations throughout the tree’s range, which extends from northern Mexico to Missouri, and west to Arizona.

Larval Hosts:  

Western Soapberry - Sapindus saponaria L. var. drummondii

Western soapberry appears to exhibit little resistance to this introduced pest. No other tree species appear to be attacked by this insect.


The adult beetle is about ½ inch-long, shining dark olive green and distinctively marked with four small white spots on the wing covers.

Biological Note

This insect is killing all sizes of soapberry trees larger than 2 inches in diameter. 

Bark chips accumulate at the base of the tree. A heavily-infested tree will be completely girdled by white larvae feeding beneath the bark.

Once infested, nothing can be done to save the Western Soapberry. Removal and mulching of trees is recommended. The mulching process will destroy any insects in the trees, so there is no danger of spreading the problem by using the mulch.


Soapberry Borer - Texas Forest Service

For more information or to report new infestations, please contact Dr. Ron Billings at (979) 458-6650, rbillings@tfs.tamu.edu

Etymology: Agrilus prionurus Chevrolat 1838

agri (L). A field

prion (G). A saw

Biography: Louis Alexandre Auguste Chevrolat (1799-1884) - Wikipedia



Borror, D.J. 1960. Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms. National Press Books, Palo Alto. v + 134 pp.

Wellso, S.G. & J.A. Jackman. 2006. A new species of Anthaxia (Haplanthaxia) Reitter (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) and new North American buprestid distributional and host records. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 82(2): 262-268.

10 Dec 2019  © Mike Quinn / entomike@gmail.com / Texas Entomology / Texas Beetle Information