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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Question pest infected Ficus Benjamin Tree - dangerous?

    To all Ficus Benjamin Tree owners or people with biological knowledge:

    Like many others, we have a nice big Ficus Benjamin Tree in our garden. In the last days I noticed that the young leaves of this tree are curled up and disformed. In each curled leave I found waxy white spots (eggs?) and 5-10 quick moving little insects with a tail sticking up, which look some similar to tiny little scorpions. 3 friends of mine have the same problem with their Benjamin Trees in their garden. They have been told by Dominicans, that this insects in this leaves are extreamly dangerous to humans, even life theadening, and that infected trees need to get cut down.
    I really can't believe, that there is any truth in this fast spreading rumor. However, I must admit, I'm a little concerned, since we have children sometimes playing in the garden.
    I did some research on the internet, but I havn't found a species, which looks like this and didn't come across helpful info so far.

    Does anybody have or ever had the same problem with his Benjamin Tree? Does anybody know what kind of pest is it? Is it in any kind dangerous to humans? What is the best way to get rid of this insects? It might be difficult to kill them, since the pest lives surrounded by the curled up leave and is probably pretty good protected against toxid spray.

    Thanks in advance for any kind of helpful info!

  2. #2

    Default We sprayed

    We had the same problem in Puerto Plata. We had our property sprayed, along with some small ones that lined the street for about 100 feet in each direction, about 2 weeks ago. Within 1 day of spraying, there were all these little dots on the ground under the trees which they said were "bugs". Since then, the leaves have started to look good again and we think the problem is solved. We have heard that they were cutting down alot of them in the Puerto Plata area.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    Default Sorry I missed this

    Those are thrips and they eat some of the leaves. Yes, by all means spray and if you want trim and burn the infected parts...

    I have the same problem..

    HB--Oh yes, they are not at all harmful unless you don't bathe....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Default here more info on the pest

    thanks for your replys. Meanwhile I contacted F. W. Howard, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Entomology, University of Florida, IFAS, who confirmed what HB said. The insects on our trees are Thips, more specific called 'tripido del laurel cubano', or Gynaikothrips ficorum. I also found now a website with good info
    And you are also right in this: They are not dangerous to humans.


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