Scale Pest Infects South Florida Palm Trees

May 18, 2018

Floridian Palm Trees
Palm Trees in South Florida

On March 1, 2018, an insect with the potential to cause significant harm to Florida Palm Trees was found in Miami-Dade County.

Fiorina phantasma, a scale, has infested at least 24 varieties of palms.

A total of 27 trees were found to have heavy infestations of the pest and have also been reported on palms in Hawaii, Grenada and the Maldives. The pest’s preference for palms could be a concern in Florida because of the abundance of the plant.

Fiornia phantasma causes chlorotic patches on the leaves of a plant and premature leaf drop. In 2011 in Maui, Hawaii, the pest was reported to cause serious damage to areca palms.

The insect can be found feeding on the undersides of the leaves causing a blotchy yellow appearance and leaves to fall.

The pest has a potential to cause significant harm to ornamental growers, homeowners and Florida landscapes.

For more information visit  or contact the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Insect Identification Lab.