Venice Pest Blog

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Don’t Let Coconut Mealybugs and Other Lawn Pests Destroy the Landscape

Don’t Let Coconut Mealybugs and Other Lawn Pests Destroy the Landscape

It doesn’t snow in Florida but there are times when palm fronds look like they are covered with a thin dusting of powder. Of course it isn’t really powder at all. Such discoloration is typically a sign that one group of lawn pests has been hard at work, mealybugs. There are numerous mealybugs that cause Floridians problems but the one we wanted to talk about today is the coconut mealybug. It is a lawn pest that poses significant damage to palms.

Thought to be natives of Asia, they sport oval-shaped, yellow or pink bodies that have been embellished with their own natural secretions. The secretions resemble powdery snow but are actually quite waxy. They use the secretions in reproduction and to foster symbiotic relationships with other insects, like ants. Unfortunately, those same secretions lead to a deadly palm disease known as sooty mold.

Sparking the rapid development of sooty mold isn’t the only damage coconut mealybugs and their brethren are known to leave in their wake. When they reproduce, the mealybugs choose to deposit their eggs directly on to the palm fronds for one simple reason. As the offspring proceed through their four-stage life cycle, they literally draw the life right out of the plants. In other words, the more palm sap these lawn pests consume, the quicker the plant’s leaves will die.

Over time, the combination of dead leaves and sooty mold buildup may prevent the palm from successfully completing the processes it needs to survive (e.g. photosynthesis). Consequently, it is common for unchecked populations of mealybugs to totally decimate a Florida property’s palm population in as little as one to two seasons. Thankfully, lawn pest companies have the means to kill coconut mealybugs, thereby giving any remaining palms a chance at survival. To learn about the techniques that lawn pest companies in Florida use to squash mealybug invasions, please contact us.

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