Royal Palm Bug Xylastodoris luteolus (Hemiptera: Thaumastocoridae) Control with Soil Applied Systemics

A. D. Ali, Doug Caldwell


The Royal Palm, Roystonia regia (Kunth) O. F. Cook, is a quintessential tree in South Florida landscapes and has relatively few pests. However, it can be severely damaged by non-predictable population flare-ups of the Royal Palm Bug (RPB), Xylastodoris luteolus Barber. Damage appears as frizzled new growth that reduces aesthetics and may affect photosynthetic ability. This study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of soil-applied neonicotinoid systemic insecticides. All 3 active ingredients tested, Merit 2F (imidacloprid), Safari 2 G and Safari 20 SG (dinotefuran) and Arena 50 WDG (clothianidin) provided excellent RPB control 30 and 75 d after treatment. ELISA analysis of palm foliage showed dinotefuran translocated fastest, followed by imidacloprid and then clothianidin. Soil application of insecticides is preferred in urban landscapes over foliar treatments due to elimination of drift and reduction in environmental concerns. To protect the appearance of the popular Royal Palm, it is advantageous to apply a systemic neonicotinoid at the first symptom of an infestation.

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