Bug of the Day, Thursday 5/23
They say good things come in small packages. Well, sometimes bad things do, too.
Case in point — the red palm mite, known scientifically as Raoiella indica.
This Bad Bug is nearly microscopic, reaching a maximum length of about one one-hundredth of an inch. But its effects on palm trees are easy enough to see. Infestations result in yellowed leaves, brown spots and defoliation.
Young coconut palms seem to be a favorite target but the mite is known to attack more than 30 palm species in the Caribbean. It also infests banana and plantain trees.
Native to the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East, the red palm mite was discovered in several Caribbean nations beginning in 2004 and then found in Florida in 2007. It’s likely to keep spreading through tropical and sub-tropical parts of the Western Hemisphere.
Learn more about the red palm mite in this UF/IFAS “Featured Creatures” document.
And here’s a document from the UF/IFAS Electronic Data Information Source, or EDIS.