Jebusaea hammerschmidti

Jebusaea hammerschmidti Reiche

(Synonym: Pseudophilus testaceus Gahan).

Common name: The date palm stem-borer.

Systematic position: Insecta, Holometabola, Coleoptera, Cerambycidae.

Distribution: Middle East, Iran, North Africa and India.

Host plant: Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.).

Morphology: Larvae are legless, about 45 mm long, creamy-white, the first two thoracic segments are broader than the rest, the body tapers towards the posterior end. The adult female is light-to-dark brown in color, about 30–45 mm in length, the male about 21–31 mm, and the antennae are as long as the body.

Life history: Jebusaea hammerschmidtii has only a single annual generation. The adults appear in April-May and mate, the female laying single eggs at the bases of the fronds or in truck cracks. The eggs hatch after 2 weeks and the larvae, usually only one per tunnel, dig into the green frond bases for about 3 months. Then they bore tunnels into the trunk at various sites and spend the winter there, remaining dormant till next spring. At that time they pupate in a chamber at the end of the tunnel, and exit the trunk.

Economic importance: Jebusaea hammerschmidtii is a destructive pest of date palms; it usually infests older and neglected trees but may also attack young and healthy ones. Its damage is due to boring into palm tree tissues to feed, causing frond and trunk breakage and infections by pathogens. This shortens tree life and decreases its yield, as well as reducing the market value of the wood. Damage is more severe in neglected plantations.


Monitoring: Infestations by J. hammerschmidti become evident by the brown to black sticky material that oozes from pest-caused holes along the trunk. Another indication is the presence of brown powdery frass around infested trees. Light traps are effective for capturing adults, and may also be used for mass trapping the pest.

Physical control: Proper management of date plantations, including adequate irrigation and fertilization. Sanitation by removal of reservoirs of infestation, such as heavily infested trees. Entrance and exit holes may be treated with a pesticide and plugged up.

Chemical Control: Systemic insecticides can be applied by spraying on the trunk or injecting them into the trunk, but their efficacy is limited due the hiding of the pest inside the trunk. The insecticide should be on the trunk when the eggs hatch, to ensure pest exposure before its larvae entry into the tree.

Biological Control: The fungus Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Vuillemin caused >70% mortality in laboratory tests. Several predatory mites feed on the pest, but their effect is unknown.


Al-Deeb, M.A. and Khalaf, M.Z. 2015. Longhorn stem borer and frond borer of date palm. In: Wakil, W., Faliero, J.R. and Miller, T.A. (eds) Sustainable Pest Management in Date Palm: Current Status and Emerging Challenges, Chapter 4, pp. 63-72, Springer.

El-Shafie, H.A.F. 2015. Biology, Ecology and management of the longhorn date palm stem borer Jebusaea Hammerschmidti (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Outlooks on Pest Management 26: 20-23

El-Shafie, H.A.F. and Mohammed, M.E.A. 2016. Description and quantification of damage incurred by the longhorn date palm borer Jebusaea Hammerschmidti Reiche (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) on date palm (Phoenix dactylifera Linnaeus, 1753). International Journal of Entomological Research 4: 55-65.

Fayyadh, M. A., 2013. Formulation of biopesticide from Beauveria bassiana as part of biological control of date palm stem borer (Jebusaea hammershmidti). Advances in Agriculture and Botanics, International Journal of the Bioflux Society 5: 84–90.

Khalaf, M.Z. and Alrubia, H.F. 2016.Impact of date palm borer species in Iraqi agroecosystems. Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture 28: 52-57.

Sama G., Buse, J., Orbach, E., Friedman, A.L.L., Rittner, O.O. and Chikatunov, V.V. 2010. A new catalogue of the Cerambycidae (Coleoptera) of Israel with notes on their distribution and host plants. Munis Entomology & Zoology 5: 1-51.