Plant Clinic

Someone’s munching on mamey sapote tree

 

dade@ifas.ufl.edu

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: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu

To learn more about May or June beetles as well as other South Florida pests, visit http://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/mannion//pests.shtml or http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/map. 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 aghu@ifas.ufl.edu.

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