POSTED: Monday, August 29, 2011 - 2:53pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 3:33pm
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. —
(AP) - An insect with a disgusting habit is killing palm trees in the Tampa Bay area and experts are worried
the disease transmitted by the bugs will affect trees around the state.
Texas Phoenix Palm Decline was first spotted in Florida in 2005.
Since then, it's been seen in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk counties, and experts say Manatee County is the hardest-hit area.
Lakeland is the farthest east the disease has been spotted; officials there told The Ledger newspaper
that some 20 percent of the city's 700 Phoenix species of palm trees are affected.
The planthopper insect pierces the palm fronds, then vomits, and the bacteria in the vomit spreads the disease.