Bugs That Eat Coconut Trees

Coconut palm (Cocos nufiera) grows in USDA hardiness zones 10b through 11. According to the Forest Service Department of Agriculture, these trees reach an average height of 50 to 60 feet with a 15- to 25-foot spread. Several bugs eat coconut leaves and fruit, causing massive structural damage to these trees.

Palmetto Weevil

The palmetto weevil (Rhynchophorus) is native to Florida. According to the University of Florida, this is the only palm weevil species residing in the United States. Adult bugs typically assault larger palm trees at the crown leaves. Larvae feed inside the tree. Trees are known to fall over from the crown due to the extensive damage palmetto weevils cause, according to the University of Florida. Unfortunately, destruction of infested trees is the only treatment to prevent spreading of these bugs to nearby coconut palm trees.

Fruit Coconut Mite

The fruit coconut mite (Aceria Guerreronis Keifer) eats immature coconut fruit. This bug is barely visible with the human eye. Huge colonies grow inside and on the coconut trees. The bugs eat away at immature fruit, causing extensive scarring and even early coconut drop. According to University of Florida IFAS Extension, the largest incidences of this coconut mite are on trees in the Florida Keys region.

General Coconut Mite

The general coconut mite (Acathrix trymatus) does less damage to coconut trees than the previously described mite and has a lower population. While this bug is most common on trees with lethal yellowing disease, the mite is not the cause. Large colonies of the bugs populate diseased, young coconut trees and eat the leaves.

Keywords: coconut tree bugs, coconut tree, coconut pests

About this Author

Joyce Priddy has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in psychology, with a minor in early childhood development. She has been freelance writing for five years and primarily writes for eHow.