Royal Palm Bug

Xylastodoris luteolus (Hemiptera: Thaumastocoridae)

The royal palm bug is very small, with the adult reaching a length of only 2.5 mm (less than 1/10th of an inch). Its general body shape is like an elongated oval and it is somewhat flattened. Adults are pale yellow-green in color. The immatures look similar to the adults, but lack wings.

 One of the few insect pests of royal palms (Roystonea regia) is the royal palm bug. The royal palm bug feeds only on R. regia and thus, its distribution in Florida is limited by the range of its host plant.

Their eggs are small are laid along leaf mid-ribs. Females usually lay only one egg per day, hatching in 8 or 9 days. The time from egg hatch to adult emergence is about 1 month.

Royal palm bugs feed on freshly opened leaves causing scattered yellow spots on the lower leaf surfaces. As feeding pressure increases, leaves turn brown and wilted. These damaged leaves become tattered looking. New leaves emerge about once a month and under heavy infestation (up to 300 bugs per leaflet), a large portion of the crown may be damaged. Royal palm bugs rarely, if ever, kill palms but their damage is unsightly. Palms less than 12 feet tall are seldom attacked. Royal palm bugs, though present from year to year, are generally considered to be minor pests. However, severe damage is reported from time to time. Extensive damage due to royal palm bug feeding has been reported throughout southern Florida in the past few years