Laurel wilt, a disease deadly to avocados and other members of the Lauraceous family, and the redbay ambrosia beetle that spreads it have been confirmed in Mississippi.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission in Brookhaven reports that it found the disease and beetle in several species, including avocado, sassafras, camphor, and the endangered pondberry and pondspice.
The disease is caused by a fungus that plugs the water-carrying cells of trees, causing wilt initially. Eventually the tree dies.
In addition to Mississippi, laurel wilt has been found in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
For more information, including a U.S. distribution map, visit the Mississippi Forestry Commission.