Lately I’ve been trying to keep you up-to-date on pest issues that may impact our area; well, now I have two more pests for you to consider: Texas Phoenix Palm decline, and Guava Fruit Fly. Though not exactly new to Florida, they’re generating a lot of interest now. Below is a brief synopsis of each of them.
Texas Phoenix Palm is a bacterial disease that is transmitted by a yet unidentified insect that bites into a palm leaf, then regurgitates and passes the disease into the palm, resulting in a withering and dropping of the palm canopy, and eventually death. So far, this deadly disease has been found in Southwest Florida from DeSoto into Lake County. Because the Sabal Palm is one of its preferred victims, extreme care should be taken in planting new palms obtained from outside our area which may be infected with this disease.
The Guava Fruit Fly is a brown and yellow fly (smaller than a house fly), which has a devastating appetite for citrus, tomatoes, peaches, apples, papayas, pomegranates, and guavas. The adult fly lays its eggs in fruits, which turn into larvae, and when the fruit drops, the larvae emerge as adult flies. Although it has only been found six times in Florida since 1991, it was recently found in Gotha and previously in Apopka and Oviedo. Although not considered as serious a threat as the Medfly, it is something you need to watch for.
Should you suspect that one of your plants may have one of these pests, notify your local extension office. Additional information on either pest is also available from the Florida Division of Plant Industry.