palpatine_beetle
Matthew Kasson

There are good beetles and there are bad beetles. We’re going to go ahead and say that the Ambrosia beetle is a bad beetle. First of all, it kind of bears a resemblance to Emperor Palpatine, if he went around crawling on all fours. (This of course contributes to the vision Grist List is building of the insect realm as a giant Star Wars cosplay.) Second of all, it’s spreading a fungus that could kill avocado trees.

Discovery reports:

The beetles do their work by boring into trees where they grow a species of Fusarium fungi to feed their young. It’s the fungus that can damage or kill the trees according to Matthew Kasson of Virginia Tech, who recently received his doctorate in forest pathology from Penn State University. …

[A]mbrosia beetles are popping up everywhere and researchers are worried that these two beetles, or their different strains of fungus, could cross to create hybrids that could threaten crops and forests.

Now, this isn’t entirely the beetles’ fault. Sometimes galaxy-wide historical forces just demand that you do what you got to, whether it’s trying to destroy the Jedi or trying to destroy guacamole. Maybe the avocado trees just need to learn to use the Force for good.