Updated 5/12/09


The Red Palm Mite was detected in Palm Beach Gardens on 12/03/07. Additional details and management programs will be posted as they become available.

Residents can also contact the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services' Division of Plant Industry (DPI) helpline for additional information:


- Red Palm Mite Website




If you suspect a red palm mite infestation, you should contact your local University of Florida County Extension Office (LINK) or call the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services' Division of Plant Industry help line at 1-888-397-1517. Live samples should not be removed from your property.  Place the mites or a small piece of the infested plant in a container with rubbing alcohol.  A sample is necessary for identification and confirmation.  Record as much information as possible about the plant type and location.  A good digital picture may be useful.


Please participate and submit samples.

 It is very important that we know the extent of the infestation!

If your sample is determined to be the red palm mite, the following management guidelines are recommended.  These guidelines will change as new information becomes available so please check back frequently. 


Cultural Control: If necessary, prune off the most heavily infested (damaged) plants or plant parts, double bag any plant material that you dispose of before moving it off your property place.  Place the double bagged material in the garbage. DO NOT move infested plants or plant material as it facilitates spread of this pest to unaffected areas. If you have a commercial tree or lawn maintenance company pruning your landscape, have them follow these guidelines or at least have them cover their vehicles prior to leaving your property.

Biological Control: The good news is that the United States Department of Agriculture and the University of Florida have identified potential predators that may help manage this new and invasive species. Please stay informed as we may need your help!

Homeowner Chemical Control: Very few pesticides are available to the homeowner for management of this pest.  Avoid using broad-spectrum insecticides because they probably will not kill this mite and they may negatively affect any potential beneficial insects or mites. Insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils are the best options when applications are needed to prevent damaging population levels but they only work if you can contact the mites with them. It may take specialized equipment to reach all infested parts of a large palm.  Private pest control companies will have access to and the appropriate licenses for applying the pesticides known to be effective.  There is one product on the market that contain fenbutatin oxide. This material has not been evaluated for the control of the red palm mite but it is known to have activity against other members of this mite family (Tenuipalpidae) that attack ornamental plants (see links below).

Ortho® Systemic Insect Killer Concentrate  Link

Ortho® Orthenex® Insect & Disease Control Concentrate Link

See Note at the bottom of this webpage.


Chemical Control for Nurseries: See Dr. Pena Document.

Click here for a PDF version.Click here to view a PDF version of this document.

Thanks to Dr. Joe Chamberlin for critically reviewing this document.


 Current Red Palm Mite Survey in Southern Florida (weekly updates available on the FDACS-DPI Red Palm Mite Website  Link

Delimitation Map Treasure Coast 12-26-07  Link

Delimitation Map 17x22 12-26-07  Link

Delimitation Map Southwest Coast 12-26-07 (no positive detections)  Link


Raoiella indica (Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae) : The Red Palm Mite: A potential Invasive Pest of Palms & Bananas and other Tropical Crops of Florida

Taken from the University of Florida EDIS Publication: EENY-376 (IN680).

 J.  E. Peña1, C. Mannion1, F. W. Howard2 and M. A. Hoy3

 1 University of Florida, IFAS, Department of Entomology and Nematology and Tropical Research and Education Center, Homestead, FL 33031:;  2 University of Florida, IFAS, Department of Entomology and Nematology and Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Homestead, FL 33314: e-mail: 3Department of Entomology and Nematology, Gainesville, FL 32611;

The red palm mite, Raoiella indica Hirst., also known as the coconut mite,  coconut red mite, red date palm mite, leaflet false spider mite, frond crimsom mite, scarlet mite  is an important  pest of coconuts, date palm, other palm species as well as a pest of bananas, beans, and durian in different parts of the world. Previous to its arrival in the New World, the mite was found in India, Philippines, Mauritius, Reunion, Malaysia, Israel and Egypt. Raoiella indica was found in Martinique and St. Lucia in 2004. During 2005, the mite was found in Dominica and during 2006 on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Guadeloupe and Saint Martin (Kane et al., 2005; Etienne and Fletchmann, 2006). Kane and Ochoa (2006) reported widespread distribution of R. indica throughout St. Lucia on coconuts, observing that most of the lower leaves had high infestations ranging from 20-300 individuals. During 2005, R. indica was found infesting bananas on the island of Dominica (N. Commodore, pers. obs.). During 2006, Etienne and Fletchmann (2006) found R. indica infesting palms, banana, ginger, bird of paradise and other plants within the Musaceae (Table I).

Damage. Young coconut palms appear to be the most severely injured.  Raoiella indica lives on the undersurfaces (Jepson et al., 1975; Etienne and Fletchmann, 2006) of coconut leaves where the eggs are deposited in colonies ranging in number from 110 to 330.  In Saint Lucia, Ochoa (unpublished) observed that in coconuts, mite populations were on the underside of the leaflets, with a higher number on the lower leaves. Mites are located in groups ranging in number from 20 to 300 individuals (eggs, larva, protonymph and deutonymph).There is no data regarding within plant distribution in other host plants.


Fig 1. Coconut palm frond showing chlorosis and necrosis of the pinnae.

Fig 2. Chlorosis and necrosis of pinnae appears to be more pronounced on basal fronds.

Fig 3. Detail of Chlorosis and necrosis on coconuts fronds. 


Description of Stages. Males and females were described by Sayed (1942). Eggs are red, oblong (111 μ long by 88 μ wide), smooth, and shiny with a stripe. The larvae are reddish and sluggish. The body of R. indica does not have striae. The first pair of dorsocentral hysterosomal setae are longer than the others; the fourth pair of dorsosublateral setae are shorter than the first pair. All dorsal body setae are slightly clublike and serrate.

Fig 4. Females of R. indica on the underside of a palm frond.

Fig 5. Male (Right) and immatures of R. indica

Life Cycle. The biology of R. indica was studied in India by Nagesha et al. (1984). Under laboratory conditions, at temperatures between 24-26°C and 60% RH, females completed their development in 24.5 days and males in 20.6 days; adult longevity was 50.9 days for females and 21.6 days for males. Fertilized females produced an average of 22 eggs and virgin females 18.4 eggs. In Mauritius, the preoviposition period is 3 days in summer and 7 days during the winter (Jepson et al., 1975). Females lay an average of 2 eggs per day over an average oviposition period of 27 days. The average time for development of each life stage is: egg, 6.1-6.5 days; larva, 5.7-9.5 days; protonymph, 5.4-6.5 days; and deutonymph 4.1-10.5 days. The average time required to complete the life cycle is 21-33 days (Zaher et al., 1969; Jepson et al., 1975). Developmental ranges are influenced by temperature, RH and host plant (Zaher et al, 1969; Gerson et al., 1983).

Fig 6. Skin casts left by mites attached to the surface of the adaxial surface of the leaf. These casts are regularly found close to the mid vein.

Seasonality. These mites are generally abundant in Mauritius on coconut from September to March, except when heavy rains occur during November and January. Starting in April, there is normally a decline in populations, which continues through August (Moutia 1958). In the summer the plants appear sickly and yellowish, a condition that may be the combined result of mite feeding and dry season conditions (Jepson et al., 1975). Howard et al. (2001) cite Sakar and Somchoudhury (1989) indicating that population build up is positively correlated with leaf moisture, crude protein and nitrogen levels in leaves in different coconut varieties.

Dispersal. Welbourn (2006) indicates that R. indica disperses by wind currents and transport of infested plants or leaves. Ochoa (2005) emphasizes that dispersal could happen in the female stage. Mendonca et al. (2005) state that one of the most common ways of dispersal is through human activity in tourist areas where persons will come in contact with ornamental palms.

Host Plants. The current list of host plants of R. indica (Appendix 1) indicates that it is mostly found in palms followed by plants within the Musaceae and Zingiberaceae (Welbourn, 2006; Etienne and Fletchman, 2006). Inspection of several plants (Citrus spp., caladium, dracaena) located under infested coconuts in Trinidad and Tobago showed that sometimes females fall onto these plants, but no eggs or immatures appear to develop on them (Peña, pers. obs.).

Fig 6. Banana leaf showing signs of infestation by the red palm mite.

Fig 7. Damage to banana; cholorosis of the leaf edge (A) followed by Necrosis; Necrosis is uniform on the leaf edge.

            Chemical Control. Chemical applications are used in occasions of high density of the mite when it is affecting date palm in the UAE (Gassouma, 2005). In India, the application of neem oil sprays mixed with sulfur after a thorough cleaning of the coconut crown showed good results. The extract is sprayed from above, 5 to 6 times per year, and is possible with a sprayer-head attached to a long pole. The application of neem resulted in a yield increase of 25%. Drilling of holes and inserting of systemic pesticides or feeding systemic pesticides through tubes attached to roots leads to fungal disease infection  (Anonymous, 2006). Additionally, it is not advisable to drill holes into palms because they do not heal and this creates an opening for diseases or attack by secondary pests.  Saradamma (1972) determined that there was a decrease in mite density 14 days after application of Parathion followed by an increase of the mite population. Chemical control measures tested in India have shown that these can be carried out only on plants in nurseries and young ornamental palms (Etienne and Fletchman, 2006; Jalaluddin and Mohanasundaram, 1990; Jayaraj et al., 1991).

Nadarajan et al (1990) reported that effectiveness of several systemic insecticides exhibited toxicity to the larvae, nymphs and adults and phosphamidon. Phosphamidon was considered slightly superior than monocrotophos, dimethoate, formothion and demeton-methyl. However, most of these products are not registered to be used in coconuts or bananas in Florida or Puerto Rico. Chemical control of other Tenuipalpidae in crops such as citrus have shown that in combination with petroleoum oil, pyridaben, fenbutatin-oxide, dicofol or high rates of sulfur provided at least 35 days control (Childers, 1994). Reisi et al. (2004) observed that abamectin and emamectin can be used to control larvae, nymphs and adults of B. phoenicis. However, abamectin was found to be slightly and moderately noxious to predacious mites, while emamectin was shown to be innocuous and slightly noxious to phytoseiids. 

Natural Enemies. In India, during a survey for the indigenous predators, several predators were discovered preying on R. indica. The phytoseiid mite, Amblyseius channabasavanni and beetle, Stethorus keralicus Kapur (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) were considered to be the most important predatory species (Daniel 1981). Puttaswamy and Rangaswamy (1976) cite S. kerlaicus feeding throughout the year on R. indica infesting coconut and areca palms in India. In the UAE, Gassouma (2005) indicates that there is natural control for the scarlet mite, but the author does not report the names of the natural enemies responsible for this type of control. The biology and habits of A. channabasavanni were determined by Daniel (1981). He determined that A. channabasavanni females effectively consumed eggs and female host mites. Alternate food sources in the field included Tetranychus fijiensis, eggs and crawlers of scale insects and mealybugs that infest arecanut leaves. The field population of the predator was maximum during May to June when the prey was at its peak.

Moutia (1958) observed that in Mauritius the principal predator of R. indica in coconut plantations was Typhlodromus caudatus Chant (Amblyseius caudatus Berlese). The cycle of this mite within a range of temperatures from 18° to 24.3°C was from 15 to 6 days, respectively. Nymphs and adults of this phytoseiid can consume an average of 10.6 eggs per day and a total of 493 eggs during their active life cycle. Gupta (2001) cites Amblyseius longispinus (= Neoseiulus longispinus Evans 1952) (Acari: Phytoseiidae) and Stethorus parcempunctatus and Jauravia sp. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in the area of Karnanka while in the area of Kerala, the prevalent predators are A. channabasavannai and Stethorus tetranychi Kapur. In India, Amblyseius raoiellis is known to prey on R. indica. Nothing is known about the biology of this species. A related mite, Amblyseius near raoiellis has been collected in lime and mango in south Florida in fruits infested with Brevipalpus phoenicis (Peña, unpublished data). Ochoa (pers. comm) collected in Saint Lucia the predaceous mite Neoseiulus longispinosus (Evans), an old world species, preying on R. indica. Other natural enemies reported preying on R. indica in the Caribbean are Amblyseius largoensis (Phytoseiidae), Armascirus Taurus (Kraemer) (Cunaxidae) and Telsimia ephippiger Chapin (Coccinellidae: Coleoptera).

Pathogens. A small portion of R. indica mites was observed by Ochoa (pers. Comm.) infected by a fungus, possibly, Hirsutella spp. Rosas-Acevedo and Sampedro-Rosas (2006) observed that the Tenuipalpid, Brevipalpus phoenicis, was infected by some isolates of Hirsutella thompsoni. However, only the HtM130 strain of H. thompsoni var. thompsoni displayed exudate formation of the sporulative phase.  The same authors emphasize the importance of assessing the presence of native entomopathogens, before introducing commercial microorganisms or isolations from elsewhere so as not to affect the natural regulatory systems.



References Consulted or Cited:


Anonymous. 2006. Raoiella indica. Management and Biological Control. Downloaded as:****&entityDisplayCategory=A

Broschat, T., and J. Crane. 2005. The coconut palm in Florida. FS40, EDIS, University of Florida, IFAS, Extension Service; Downloaded as:

Childers, C. 1994. Feeding injury to Robinson tangerine leaves by Brevipalpus mites (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) in Florida and Evaluation of Chemical Control on Citrus. Florida Entomol. 77:

Crane, J. C., C. Balerdi and I. McGuire. 2005. Banana growing in the Florida home landscape. FC-10, EDIS, University of Florida, IFAS, Extension Service; Downloaded as:

Daniel, M. 1981. Bionomics of the predaceous mite Amblyseius channabasavanni (Acari: Phytoseiidae), predaceous on the palm mite Raoiella indica. In: 1st Indian Symposium in Acarology (G. P. Channabasvanna, ed.  April 23-25, Bangalore, India. pp: 167-173

Elwan, A. 2000. A survey of the insect and mite pests associated with date palm trees in Al-Dakhliya region, Sultanate of Oman. Egyptian J. Agric. Res.78:653-664.

Etienne, J., and C. H. W. Fletchmann. 2006. First record of Raoiella indica (Hirst, 1924) (Acari:Tenuipalpidae) in Guadeloupe and Saint Martin, West Indies.

FAO –International Phytosanitary Portal. Official Pest Report Dominica (2005-11-16). Report of Raoiella mite. Raoiella indica in the Americas. Downloaded as:

Gassouma, S.M. 2005. Pests of Date Palm (Phoenix dactilifera). Downloaded as:

Gerson, U., A. Venezian and D. Blumberg. 1983. Phytophagous mites on date palms in Israel. Fruits 38:133-135.

Gupta, Y. N. 2001. A conspectus of natural enemies of phytophagous mites and mites as potential biocontrol agents of agricultural pests in India. In: International Congress of Acarology, , R. Halliday, D. Walter, H. Proctor, R. Norton and M. Colloff, eds. 10. Collingwood, Australia. CSIROPublishing. Pp. 484-497.

Howard, F. W., D. Moore, R. M. Giblin Davis and R. G. Abad. 2001. Insects on palms. CABI Publishing, Walingford, UK, 400 pp.

Jepson, L. R., Keifer, H., and E. W. Baker. 1975 Mites injurious to economic plants. Berkerley, University of California Press, 614 p.

Jalaluddin, S. M. and M. Mohanasundaran. 1990. Control of the red coconut mite Raoiella indica Hirst. (Tenuipalpidae:Acari) in the nursery. Indian Coconut Journal, Cochin 21:7-8.

Jayaraj, J., K., Natarajan, and G. Ramasubramanian. 1991. Control of Raoiella indica Hirst (Tenuipalpidae:Acari) on coconut with pesticides. Indian Coconut Journal. Cochin 22:7-9.

Kane, E. C., R. Ochoa, and E. F. Erbe. 2005. Raoiella indica Hist (Acari: Tenuipalpidae): An island-hopping mite pest in the Caribbean. Abstract. ESA Meeting, Fort Lauderdale, December - 2005.

Kane, E., and R. Ochoa. 2006. Detection and identification of the red palm mite Raoiella indican Hirst (Acari:Tenuipalpidae). USDA,ARS,Beltsville, MD, 6 pp.

Mendonca, R.S., D. Navia, C. Fletchmann. 2005. Raoiella indica Hirst (Prostigmata:Tenuipalpidae), o acaro vermelho das palmeiras-uma ameaça para as Americas. Embrapa, Documentos 146, 37 pp.

Moutia, L. A. 1958. Contribution to study of some phytophagous acarina and their predators in Mauritius. Bull. Entomol. Res/ 49:59-75.

Nadarajan, L., G. Channabasavanna and B.K. Chandra. 1990. Control of coconut pests through stem injection of systemic insecticides. Mysore J. Agric. Sci. 14;355-364.

Nagesha-Chandra, B. K. N., and G.P., Channabassanna. 1984. Development and ecology of Raoiella indica Hirst (Acari:Tenuipalpidae) on coconut. In: Chichester, E., and Horwood, publ. Acarology VI: 2: 785-790.  

PROSEA. 2006. Areca catechu. Agroforestry Tree Database. Downloaded as:  (LINK BROKEN)                  

Puttaswamy, and H. R., Rangaswamy. 1976. Stethorus keralicus Kapur (Coleoptera:Coccinellidae), a predator of the areca palm mite. Current Research. 5: 27-28.

Reisi,  P., Neto, M., Franco and A. Viera. 2003. Control of Brevipalpus phoenicis and Oligonychus ilicis (Acari: Tenuipalpidae) in coffee plants and the impact on beneficial mites. Ciencia e Agrotecnologia.

Downloaded as:

Rosas-Acevedo, J.L., and L. Sampedro-Rosas. 2006. Variability of Hirsutella thompsonii strains, isolated from phytophagous mites from three terrestrial systems in the State of Colima, Mexico. Rev. Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 77: 7-16.

Sakar, P. K.,  and A. K., Somchodhury. 1988. Evaluation of some pesticides against Raoiella indica Hirst on coconut palm in West Bengal. Pesticides. 22: 21-22.  Not listed in text.

Sakar, P. K.,  and A. K., Somchodhury. 1989. Interrelationship between plant characters and incidence of Raoiella indica Hirst on coconut. Indian Journal of Entomology 51: 45-50.

Saradama, K. 1972. Evaluation of toxicity of some pesticides  to the red mite on coconut,

Raoiella indica (Hirst) Phytotipalpidae. Agricultural Res. J. India. 10: 61-62.

Sayed, T. 1942. Contribution to the knowledge of acarina in Egypt: The genus Raoiella Hirst (Pseudotetranychinae:Tetranychidae). Bull. Soc. Fouad ler D’Entomologie. 26: 81-91.

Somchoudhry, A.K., and Sarkar, P.K. 1987. Observations on natural enemies found in association with coconut mite, Raoiella indica Hirst. Bulletin of Entomology. 28: 104-107.

Zaher, M. A., A. K., Wafa and A. A. Yousef. 1969. Biological studies on Raoiella indica

Hirst and Phyllotetranychus aegyptiacus Sayed infesting date palm trees in U.A. R. (Acarina: Tenuipalpidae). Zeitschrift für angewandte Entomologie.

Welbourn, C. 2006. Red Palm Mite Raoiella indica (Acari: Tenuipalpidae). Pest Alert. DPI-FDACS; 4pp. Downloaded as:


Table I. Host plant species of Raoiella indica.

Plant Species



Aiphanes sp.


St. Lucia

Areca catechu L.



Areca sp.



Cocos nucifera L.


Asia, Mauritius, St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Trinidae, Guadeloupe, St. Martin

Dictyosperma album (Borg.)



Dypsis lutescens (H. Wendl.)



Phoenix dactilifera


Asia, Mauritius, Israel, Egypt

Syagrus ramanzoffianum  Glassman


St. Lucia

Veitchia merrillii (Becc.)


St Lucia, Martinique

Licuala grandis H. Wendl.



Caryota mitis Lour.



Pricthardia pacifica B. C. Seem



Washingtonia robusta H.E. Moore



Musa spp.



Musa acuminate Colla


St. Lucia, Dominica

M. balbisiana Colla


St. Lucia, Dominica

Musa uranoscopus Lour.


St. Lucia

Musa x paradisiacal L.


St. Lucia, Dominica

Ocimum basilicum L.



Undetermined ginger


St. Lucia

Undetermined heliconia



Heliconia rostrata R.



Strelitzia reginae Banks



Alpinia purpurata Vieill. ex. . Schum.



Etlingera elatior (Jack.) R. M. Smith











Red palm mite Raoiella indica Hirst (Acari: Tenuipalpidae). Cal Welbourn


University of Florida EDIS Publication: EENY-376 (IN680). Raoiella indica (Prostigmata: Tenuipalpidae): The Red Palm Mite: A Potential Invasive Pest of Palms and Bananas and Other Tropical Crops of Florida: J.E. Pena, C.M. Mannion, F.W. Howard and M.A. Hoy.


Raoiella indica Hirst (Acari: Tenuipalpidae): An island-hopping mite pest in the Caribbean. Ethan C. Kane, Ronald Ochoa, Guy Mathurin, & Eric F. Erbe


Regional strategy to control the invasion of red palm mite pests. CARDI


Mite Photos PDF LINK
General Mite Information and Photos LINK
Mite Management PDF LINK

Chemical Control of Mites on Ornamental Plants LINK


If you would like to be notified when new information is available concerning the Red Palm Mite please send an email to: and include RPM Notification in the subject line.

 Note: Mention of a commercial or proprietary product or chemical does not constitute a recommendation or warranty of the product by he authors or the University of Florida. Products should be used according to label instructions and safety equipment required on the label and by federal or state law should be employed. Users should avoid the use of chemicals under conditions that could lead to ground water contamination. Pesticide registrations may change so it is the responsibility of the user to ascertain if a pesticide is registered by the appropriate local, state and federal agencies for an intended use.