Plant Clinic

Someone’s munching on mamey sapote tree

Q. I recently purchased a mamey sapote tree and I have noticed that some type of bug is munching on the leaves but I haven’t found the culprit.

F.O., Hialeah

If you don’t see insects during the day and since it’s summer, the culprit is most likely the May or June beetle. Place white buckets with a couple inches of soapy water under your tree at night. This beetle will be attracted to the trap, and fall into the water and drown.

May beetle adults chew on the edges of leaves on many species of trees. Even though the damage is unsightly, the plant is not harmed and you shouldn’t be worried. But there are other insects that cause similar damage such as the Sri Lanka weevil.

May or June beetle adults emerge from the soil during the rainy season but mostly in May and June, hence its common name. They lay their eggs in soil that develop into what are commonly called “white grubs”. If you find Ibis probing your grass, they are searching for white grubs and other soil-dwelling small animals.

Over-watered and over-fertilized lawns are more susceptible to white grub damage, so good lawn care is the best defense. To learn how to care for your lawn in an environmentally friendly way, visit this website:

To learn more about May or June beetles as well as other South Florida pests, visit or Check the county Extension office websites in South Florida as well as in your own county.

Adrian Hunsberger is an entomologist/horticulturist with the UF/IFAS Miami-Dade Extension office. Write to Plant Clinic, 18710 SW 288th St., Homestead, FL 33030; e-mail

Read more Plant Clinic stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category