Insects on an Allspice Tree

Insects on an Allspice Tree

A part of the myrtle family, allspice has been prized for centuries because of its heady odor and flavor of the spice made from the tree’s dried fruit. Gardeners in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12 can enjoy the exotic fragrance of this heat-loving, tropical tree’s evergreen foliage year-round outdoors. In cooler climates, the tree may be grown in a container and brought indoors to weather the winter. Although allspice has several problems, like all broadleaf evergreen trees, insects on the tree can become pests.

Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are smaller than houseflies, up to 5 millimeters long, and have yellowish bodies using some brownish areas on the belly and wings. Adults lay eggs just under the surface of the fruit. Maggots, or seams, of the fruit fly feed on the pulp from the tree’s fruit, destroying it. Pesticides containing Spinosad may help control fruit flies.

Sap-Sucking Insects

Aphids, scale insects, spider mites and whiteflies are little insect pests that will find your tree’s leaf irresistible. Aphids and soft scales exude honeydewthat can attract ants and provide a growth medium for sooty mould. Sooty mould blocks out sunlight required for photosynthesis. Heavy feeding by large colonies of these insects can cause the leaf to come up with yellowish spots, and leaves can become deformed from the lack of vital juices. Spider mites appear as tiny red dots, usually on the bottom of the leaves, and may spin minuscule webs. A difficult spray from the garden hose, especially to the undersides of their leaves, washes several of these pests from the tree, and natural seekers can usually handle the rest. Horticultural oil or insecticidal soap sprays smother the insects without leaving toxic deposits on the skin.

Bark Beetles

Some bark beetles attack broadleaf evergreens and may find their way to your allspice tree. Bark beetles bore into trunks, limbs and branches to get at the tasty, nutritious cambial-phloem under the bark of the tree. Allspice trees which are afflicted by infection or other stressful conditions are more likely to be assaulted. Because the beetles mine the inside of the tree, pesticides will probably not help. Pruning away heavily infested regions and maintaining the allspice tree as healthy as possible can keep bark beetles from severely damaging the trees.

Lace Bugs

Lace bugs are up to 1/4 inch long, with dark- and also brown-spotted wings. The insects lay eggs on the midveins of their leaves. The eggs remain attached through the winter, until the larvae hatch in spring and begin feeding on the undersides of their leaves. Feeding causes yellowish spots to appear on the upper surface of their leaves. Lace bugs produce brown droppings that stick to the bottom of their leaves. Foliage can turn brown and die. Spraying with water may address the problem; should not, spraying the foliage thoroughly using horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps should do just fine.

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