While the adult causes some damage through feeding, it is the burrowing of the larva into the palm heart that can cause the most mortality. The adult female lays approximately two hundred eggs on new growth in the crown of the palm, at the base of young leaves, or in open lesions on the plant.
The egg hatches into a white legless larva. The larva will feed on the soft fibres and terminal buds, tunneling through the internal tissue of the tree for about a month. At pupation, the larva will leave the tree and form a cocoon built of dry palm fibers in leaf litter at the base of the tree. The total life cycle takes about 7–10 weeks.
The crown wilts first, and lower leaves will follow, due to damage to vascular tissue. Major symptoms such as crown loss or leaf wilt are usually only visible long after the palm has become infected. By the time these symptoms are observed, the damage is usually sufficient to kill the tree. Sounds of the larvae burrowing and chewing can be heard by placing one’s ear to the trunk of the palm, and some inspectors use electronic listening devices to detect early infestations.
If you see any abnormal in your garden, contact a specialist immediately, before it is too late.
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