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Red Palm Mite

Red Palm Mite, Raoiella indica Hirst


Photo courtesy of USDA/ARS

 

The red palm mite was recently detected in Broward, Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties in the state of Florida.  While the pest has not yet been detected in Florida nurseries, importers should ensure only the mite-free host plants are brought into Texas.  If introduced into Texas, the mite can potentially cause significant losses to palms and other host plants grown in Texas.  Texas has enacted the Red Palm Mite Quarantine to prevent this pest from entering the state.

 The red palm mite is about 1/100th of an inch in length, bright red, visible with the naked eye and it does not spin webs like most mites do.  It occurs on the underside of leaves in groups of a few individuals to hundreds. It feeds on leaves of 32 species of palms, bananas, gingers, etc. and causes localized yellowing of leaves followed by tissue death.  Images of the mite and damage symptoms can be seen at the following address:

To inspect for red palm mite, look on the underside of the leaves of the host plants listed above. Damage symptoms alone are not sufficient to determine if the pest is present. Instead the mites must be found on leaves.  If available, use a hand lens to compare the mite specimens with the red palm mite pictures.  If the specimens look similar to the red palm mite, please call one of TDA's regional offices for instruction on submission of mite samples for identification.  A complete list of TDA offices can be found at the Link above.