Avocado Pests
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Adults and nymphs of the avocado lace bug
Fig. 1 
Adults and nymphs of the avocado lace bug

Dorsal view of male Platypus flavicornis Fabricius
Fig. 4
Dorsal view of male Platypus flavicornis Fabricius

Redbay ambrosia beetles
Fig. 8 magnifying glass
Redbay ambrosia beetles (Xyleborus glabratus): a) comparison of beetle to a penny; b) top view and c) side view of a single adult.

Avocado Mite Damage
Fig. 13
Mite damage to fruit

Dictyospermum scale Chrysomphalus dictyospermi (Morgan)
Fig. 17
Dictyospermum scale Chrysomphalus dictyospermi (Morgan)

Adult of an avocado mirid, Dagbertus fasciatus
Fig. 20
Adult of an avocado mirid, Dagbertus fasciatus

Adult redbanded thrips, Selenothrips rubrocinctus (Giard)
Fig. 21 magnifying glass
Adult redbanded thrips, Selenothrips rubrocinctus (Giard)

Avocado Weevil
Fig. 24
Gold-dust Weevil Hypomeces squamosus (Fabricius, 1792)

Avocado trunks damaged by tree girdler larvae
Fig. 25
Avocado trunks damaged by tree girdler larvae

Lateral view of a worker of the red imported fire ant
Fig. 26
Lateral view of a worker of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren.


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Minor and occasional pests include ambrosia beetles, aphids, mealybugs, avocado leafroller, avocado looper, banded cucumber beetle, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and slugs/snails.

Banded Cucumber Beetle, Diabrotica balteata LeConte (Insecta: Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) from the University of Florida pdf



Avocado Lace Bug (Fig.1)
Pseudacysta Perseae (Heidemann)  Insecta: Hemiptera: Tingidae

The avocado lace bug was historically regarded as having a limited distribution throughout the Florida peninsula, causing little economic damage. However, the number of complaints about leaf damage resulting from this insect has increased recently. 3

The avocado lace bug inhabits the undersurface of leaves and feeds by penetrating the tissue with its piercing-sucking mouthparts and removing plant sap. The bug lives in colonies, depositing eggs upright in irregular clusters in the same area that the bug inhabits. The life cycle of the avocado lace bug is about three weeks. 3

Eggs of the Avocado Lace BugLace Bug Damage on Avocado Leaf
Fig. 2 magnifying glass Fig. 3 magnifying glass

Fig. 2. Eggs of the Avocado Lace Bug
Fig. 3. Lace Bug Damage on Avocado Leaf

Further Reading
Avocado Lace Bug, Pseudacysta perseae (Heidemann) from the University of Florida pdf 4 pages



Ambrosia Beetle (Fig.4)
Platypus spp. Insecta: Coleoptera: Platypodidae

The family Platypodidae includes approximately 1,000 species, most of which are found in the tropics (Schedl 1972). Seven species of platypodids, all in the genus Platypus, are found in the United States, four of which occur in Florida.  All species found in Florida are borers of trunks and large branches of recently killed trees and and may cause economic damage to unmilled logs or standing dead timber. 2

Sawdust tube produced by the ambrosia beetle on a dead redbayBoring Dust at Base of TreeRedbay trunk with ambrosia beetle sawdust
Fig. 5 magnifying glass Fig. 6 magnifying glass Fig. 7 magnifying glass

Fig. 5. Sawdust tube produced by an ambrosia beetle on a dead redbay. Multiple species of ambrosia beetles attack redbays killed by Xyleborus glabratus and its associated fungus.
Fig. 6. Boring dust (stage 3) at base of tree resulting from feeding of the ambrosia beetle Platyus flavicornis Fabricius.
Fig. 7. Redbay (Persea borbonia) trunk with ambrosia beetle sawdust (frass) tubes at points of entrance for adult beetles constructing galleries

Further Reading
Ambrosia Beetles, Platypus spp. (Insecta: Coleoptera:Platypodidae) from the University
of Florida pdf 7 pages
A Guide to Florida's Common Bark and Ambrosia Beetles from the University of Florida pdf 36 pages



Laurel Wilt (Fig.8)
Caused by the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle (Xyleborus glabratus)

Laurel wilt is a disease of redbay (Persea borbonia), avocado (P. americana) and other trees in the laurel family (Lauraceae). It is caused by a fungus (Raffaelea sp.) that stops the flow of water in host trees, causing the leaves to wilt. The fungus is carried into host trees by a non-native insect, the redbay ambrosia beetle (X. glabratus), which was first detected in the United States in 2002 and Florida in 2005. 5

Laurel Wilt on RedbayRedbay with Partially Wilted CrownRedbay with Purple Crown, symptom of Laurel Wilt Disease
Fig. 9 magnifying glass Fig. 10 magnifying glass Fig. 11 magnifying glass
Same tree eight months later
Fig. 12 magnifying glass

Fig. 9,10.  Laurel Wilt (Raffaelea laurecola) on Redbay (P. borbonia)    
Fig.11.  Redbay with partially wilted crown
Fig.12.  Same tree eight months later

Further Reading
Laurel Wilt of Avocado from the University of Florida TREC ext. link
Brochure for the Homeowner from the University of Florida TREC pdf
Pest Alert by the Florida Department of Agriculture (2011) from the University of
Florida TREC pdf
Redbay Ambrosia Beetle Xyleborus glabratus Eichhoff from the University of Florida pdf 6 pages
Redbay Ambrosia Beetle-Laurel Wilt Pathogen: A potential Major Problem for the Florida Avocado Industry (2013) from the University of Florida pdf 8 pages
Current Recommendations for the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle and Laurel Wilt Pathogen Control from the University of Florida TREC pdf 8 pages
Distribution of Counties with Laurel Wilt Disease pdf



Mites (Fig. 13)
Oligonychus yothersi, O. punicae, Tegolophus perseaflotae

Spider mites of the genus Oligonychus commonly infest avocados in Florida.  Feeding is first confined to the upper leaf surface along the midrib and then spreads along secondary veins. the areas along the veins become reddish-brown. Damage by the spider mites is commonly observed from October through February, causing a reduction in photosynthesis of up to 30 percent. Infested leaves often abscise prematurely. Control measures are often started when mite pressures reach six or more mites per leaf. For spider mites in general, life cycles may range from 5 to 20 days. Lifespan of the spider mite may be as long as one month. The female lays several hundred eggs over a lifetime. The eggs are capable of overwintering within the grove. 3
Avocado bud mite (T. perseaflorae) populations start to increase from March to May. These mites are found on buds and on developing fruit. The feeding of the avocado bud mite causes necrotic spots and irregular openings in apical leaves and may cause fruit deformation and discoloration. 3

Avocado Mite Damage On LeafAvocado Mite Damage on LeavesMite Damage on Fruit
Fig. 14 magnifying glass Fig. 15 magnifying glass Fig. 16 magnifying glass

Fig.14,15.  Damage to Avocado Leaves
Fig.16.  Damage on Fruit



Scales (Fig.17)
Chrysomphalus dictyospermi, C. aonidum, Ceroplastes floridensis, Hemiberlesia lataniae, Protopulvinaria pyriformis

Scale insects can be of two types, armored scales or soft scales.  Armored scales are protected by a distinct, hard, separable shell.  Soft scales have a delicate body not protected by a shell and often produce honeydew.
Soft and armored scales are plant-feeding insects, often controlled by natural and released parasites, predators, and pathogens. In cases when the natural balance of predation has been disrupted, scale populations may increase to levels requiring chemical treatment. Since scale insects are relatively immobile, and at least one month is required for the scale-insect egg to reach the adult stage, an infestation builds up slowly (in comparison to mites or aphids) and may be hard to spot. It is important to verify that the scale insects attached to the plant are alive, as mummies accumulate on the plant over time. 3

Florida Wax Scale - Ceroplastes floridensis ComstockFlorida red scale Chrysomphalus aonidum (Linnaeus)
Fig. 18 magnifying glass Fig. 19 magnifying glass

Fig.18.  Florida Wax Scale - C. floridensis Comstock
Fig.19.  Florida red scale C. aonidum (Linnaeus)



Mirids (Fig.20)
Daghbertus fasciatus, D. olivaceous, Rhinacloa sp.

These sucking insects are small (3 mm) and vary in color from green to brown. They are prevalent during the avocado-flowering months, January through April. The flower and early fruit feeding by mirids may cause the fruit to drop. Wounds created by the mirids serve as entry points for decay organisms. The insects also lay eggs on opening buds, leaves, flowers, and small fruit. 3



Redbanded thrips (Fig.21)
Selenothrips rubrocinctus (Giard) Insects: Thysanoptera: Thripidae

The redbanded thrips is ubiquitous throughout Florida, but the pest is generally found in damaging numbers from Orlando to Key West. Female redbanded thrips are slightly greater than 1 mm in length with a dark-brown to black body underlain by red pigment, chiefly in the first three abdominal segments. The larvae is light yellow to orange with the first three and last segments of the abdomen bright red. The life cycle of this thrips is about three weeks in Florida, and several generations are possible each year. Infestations of redbanded thrips may cause leaf drop, at times totally denuding trees. 3

Adult and LarvaePupa(e)
Fig. 22 magnifying glass Fig. 23 magnifying glass

Fig.22.  Adults and larvae                            
Fig.23.  Pupa(e)

Further Reading
Redbanded Thrips, Selenothrips rubrocinctus (Giard) from the University of Florida pdf 4 pages



Tree Girdler (Fig.24, 25)
Heilipus squamosus Insect: Coleoptera: Curculionidae

This weevil is one of the most potentially damaging pests of avocado. The adult weevil is about 1.2 cm in length, predominantly black in color with irregular white areas and spots on the wing covers. Eggs are deposited in the inner bark, near ground level. As the larvae feed, they burrow in the inner bark or in the wood of small trees. Reddish-brown frass extruding from burrowing holes is a sign of infestation. Young trees 2 – 4 years old may be girdled so completely that the trees die. Adult weevils feed on avocado buds, twigs, and blossoms, as well as on young fruit after it has emerged. 3



Red Imported Fire Ants (Fig. 26)
Solenopsis invicta Buren Insect: Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae

Two species of fire ants are found in Florida. Most notorious is Solenopsis invicta Buren, the red imported fire ant (RIFA), followed by the much less common S. geminata (Fabricius), the tropical or native fire ant. Other more common U.S. members of this genus include S. xyloni McCook, the southern fire ant; S. aurea Wheeler, found in western states; and S. richteri Forel, the black imported fire ant, confined to northeastern Mississippi and northwestern Alabama. 6

Red Imported Fire Ant ColonyRed Imported Fire Ant Mound
Fig. 27 magnifying glass Fig. 28 magnifying glass

Fig. 27.  Typical colony of the red imported fire ant, S. invicta Buren.
Fig. 28.  Mound of the red imported fire ant, S. invicta Buren, in St. Augustinegrass.

Further Reading
Red Imported Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta Buren from the University of Florida pdf 9 pages
Imported Fire Ants from eXtension Imported Fire Ants community ext. link
Managing Imported Fire Ants in Urban Areas from the University of Florida pdf 22 pages



Further Reading
Florida Integrated Pest Management ext. link
List of Avocado Pests from the University of Florida TREC ext. link

Bibliography

1
Mead, F.W. and Pena, J.E.. "Avocado Lace Bug, Pseudacysta Perseae (Heidemann), (Insecta Hemiptera: Tingidae)." edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Featured Creatures from the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. July 1998. Revised Apr. 2016. Web. 14 Apr. 2017.
2 Atkinson, T.H. "Ambrosia Beetle Platypus spp. (Insecta: Coleoptera: Platypodidae)." edis.ifas.ufl.edu. One of a series of Featured Creatures from the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Nov. 2000. Revised July 2014. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
3 Mossler, Mark A. and Jonathan H. Crane. "Florida Crop/Pest Management Profile: Avocado." edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Pesticide Information Office, Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Sept. 2001. Reviewed Mar. 2012. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.
4 Denmark, H.A. and D.O. Wolfenbarge. "Redbanded thrips Selenothrips rubrocinctus (Giard).". edis.ifas.ufl.edu. One of a series of Featured Creatures from the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. June 1999. Revised May 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
5 Crane, Jonathan H., Peña, Jorgé and Osborne, J.L."Redbay Ambrosia Beetle-Laurel Wilt Pathogen: A Potential Major Problem for the Florida Avocado Industry."  edis.ifas.ufl.edu. This document is HS1136, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date, Feb. 2008. Revised Dec. 2008. Reviewed July 2013. Web. 23 Dec. 2015.
6 Collins, Laura and Rudolf H. Scheffrahn."Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae)." edis.ifas.ufl.edu. This document is EENY-195 (IN352), one of a series of Featured Creatures from the Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Published Jan. 2001. Reviewed Dec. 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

Photographs

Fig. 1,3 Castner, James. Adults and nymphs of the avocado lace bug, Pseudacysta Perseae (Heidemannand Leaf damage caused by the lace bug, Pseudacysta Perseae (Heidemann). N.d. University of Florida. edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
Fig. 2 Hunsberger, Adrian. Eggs of the avocado lace bug, Pseudacysta Perseae (Heidemann). N.d. University of Florida. edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
Fig. 4 Almquist, David T. Dorsal view of male Platypus flavicornis Fabricius. N.d. University of Florida. edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
Fig. 5 Mayfield, Albert. Small strings of compacted sawdust protrude from small bore holes along the trunk of a tree. N.d. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
Fig. 6 Billings, Ronald F.. Boring dust (stage 3) at base of tree resulting from feeding of the ambrosia beetle Platyus flavicornis Fabricius. 2005. Texas Forest Service. bugwood.org. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
Fig. 7 Billings, Ronald, F. Redbay (Persea borbonia) trunk with ambrosia beetle sawdust (frass) tubes at points of entrance for adult beetles constructing galleries. 2010. Texas Forest Service, College Station, TX. bugwood.org. Web. 6 Feb. 2014.
Fig. 8 Thomas, Michael C. Redbay ambrosia beetles (Xyleborus glabratus): a) comparison of beetle to a penny; b) top view and c) side view of a single adult. N.d.Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. edis.ifas.ufl.edu.Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
Fig. 9 Johnson, James. Laurel Wilt (Raffaelea laurecola) on Redbay (Persea borbonia). 2003. Georgia Forestry Commission. bugwood.org. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
Fig.10 Mayfield, Albert (Bud). Laurel Wilt (Raffaelea laurecola) on Redbay (Persea borbonia). 2006. USDA Forest Service. bugwood.org. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.
Fig. 11, 12 Mayfield III, Albert E. Wilt symptoms of redbay attacked by Xyleborus glabratus and infected with Raffaelea lauricola. 2006. freshfromflorida.com.  Florida Division of Forestry and M. C. Thomas, FDACS/DPI. Web. 9 Feb. 2014.
Fig. 13 Nelson, Scot. Mite Damage to Avocado Fruit. N.d. hawaiiplantdiseases.net. Web. 9 Feb. 2014.
Fig. 14,15 Nelson, Scot. Mite Damage to Avocado Leaves. N.d. hawaiiplantdiseases.net. Web. 9 Feb. 2014.
Fig. 17 Olsen, Charles. Dictyospermum scale Chrysomphalus dictyospermi (Morgan). 2012. USDA APHIS PPQ. bugwood.org. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 18 Florida Wax Scale - Ceroplastes floridensis Comstock. 2006. United States National Collection of Scale Insects Photographs Archive, USDA Agricultural Research Service. bugwood.org. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 19 Graney, Lorraine. Florida red scale Chrysomphalus aonidum (Linnaeus). 2010. Bartlett Tree Experts. bugwood.org. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.
Fig. 20 Peña, Jorge E. Adult of an avocado mirid, Dagbertus fasciatus. N.d. UF/IFAS - Tropical Research & Education Center. trec.ifas.ufl.edu. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
Fig. 21,22,23 Buss, Lyle. Adult redbanded thrips, Selenothrips rubrocinctus (Giard). 2010. University of Florida. bugwood.org. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
Fig. 24 Dell, Johnny N. Avocado Weevil, Heilipus apiatus (Olivier 1807). 2010. University of Georgia. bugwood.org. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
Fig. 25 Peña, Jorge E. Avocado trunks damaged by tree girdler larvae. N.d. UF/IFAS - Tropical Research & Education Center. trec.ifas.ufl.edu. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
Fig. 26 Almquist, David. Lateral view of a worker of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. N.d. University of Florida. edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
Fig. 27 Porter, Sanford D. Typical colony of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. N.d. USDA, Gainesville, FL. ars.usda.gov. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
Fig. 28 Scheffrahn, Rudolf. Mound of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, in St. Augustinegrass. N.d. University of Florida. edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.

Published 16 Nov. 2013 LR. Last update 20 Nov. 2017 LR
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