Bug ID - Olive Tree Being Eaten

m5allenAugust 22, 2013

I have noticed some pretty extensive insect damage on my olive tree. I looked very hard and can't seem to find the offender.

The leaves are chewed up and some are stuck together with some sort of goo. And there are small piles of black eggs or droppings.

I did see a small black fly looking bug on my tree, but I wasn't able to snap a picture of him.

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m5allen

Additional picture

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 9:22PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Try looking at night with a flashlight.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 8:53AM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

It might be more than 1 pest & perhaps disease as well. Some pests introduce diseases when feeding. The rough patches & distorted leaves look like the damage of some sucking insects.

The dark blobs appear to be caterpillar frass (feces)

FWIW & if this is any consolation, plants can usually withstand a loss of up to a third of their foliage

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:58AM
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shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b

Looks like spider mites, perhaps. They are difficult to see. You can take a leaf and shake it over a white piece of paper or use a jewelers loop or a magnifying glass. Look under the leaf. Good luck

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:53AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I don't think spider mites can poop that big.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:37PM
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shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b

Take a sample to your county ag agent. They most likely will be able to identify the culprit. And provide a remedy. Good luck. Let us know.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 2:28PM
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m5allen

Thanks everyone.

Right now, I am spraying it with neem.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 10:50PM
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coderblu(9a)

Have you noticed any galls? Those are caused by mites. But the bucida caterpillar (characoma nilotica) moth lays her eggs in them. The caterpillar can chew up leaves, feeding externally, or feed in the galls like a boring caterpillar, causing a lot of frass (poop) that is seen. The frass can also cause a lot of staining on a sidewalk or drive. Check your tree really well for galls and break one open. You could find the caterpillar in there since you're not seeing it on your tree. What can you do? The window for control is when the caterpillars are small and feeding on the flowers. Try using BT then. I hope my post helps you.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 11:50AM
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coderblu(9a)

Oh yeah, BTW, that small black fly could have been a tachinid fly. Tachinids attack caterpillars, adult and larval beetles, as well as some other insect pests. They also attack cabbage loopers, which makes them friends of mine even though they're a danger to my swallowtail caterpillars. So that fly wasn't part of your problem, but maybe your friend too.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 12:39PM
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