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Royal Palm Bug
Xylastodoris luteolus

The Royal Palm Bug is an unusual insect. It feeds on only one 
plant, the royal palm, and the female lays one egg a day during the spring, a little like a chicken. The bugs rarely kill the host tree but the damage they do can be unsightly and they are difficult to control given the height of mature royal palms. These insects are the only North American members of the Thaumastocoridae family.

The Life of the Royal Palm Bug
The royal palm bug is completely dependent on the royal palm for food and shelter. Eggs are laid in the spring inside the folds of new palm leaflets which serve to protect the eggs until they hatch. Eggs hatch after eight or nine days and the insects reach adulthood in about a month, about the same time that it takes a royal palm to produce a new leaf.

After hatching, the bugs begin to feed on the new leaf producing yellow spots on the lower leaf surface. Large numbers of bugs feeding on one leaf can cause it to develop brownish streaks, wilt and finally turn gray.

The adult royal palm bugs themselves are very small, only about one tenth of an inch (2.5mm) long. Adults have red eyes, are light yellow in color and have wings. Young bugs are identical in appearance except that they lack wings.

Controlling Royal Palm Bugs
Insecticides are effective against royal palm bugs. Direct application, though, can be difficult in the case of extremely tall royal palms. It doesn’t help that the bugs rarely attack trees under 12 feet in height. Apply the Once-A-Year Insecticidal Drench w/Merit at the earliest sign of the Royal Palm Bug.

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