The Lychee Erinose Mite (LEM), Aceria litchii, was found in a backyard lychee tree in the northern portion of Miami-Dade County, FL in February 2020. LEM was previously found in Lee County on Pine Island in February 2018, and lychee fruit and plant parts are currently under quarantine in Lee County. Until now, the pest has been found in several other counties, including West Palm, but had not been found in Miami-Dade County.
With approximately 90% of Florida’s commercial lychee acreage being in Miami-Dade County, this latest LEM find is troubling. LEM has the potential to severely weaken lychee trees and decrease fruit yield by 80%, and control of this pest is difficult. The current Management Recommendations for the Lychee Erinose Mite (LEM) in Florida are described here.
Symptoms of LEM are typically on new leaves and include small blisters with silver white colored hairs on the underside of the leaves. As the infestation progresses, a reddish-brown hairy mass develops and can cover the entire leaf, which may become distorted or curled. The hairy “erinea”, seen in the picture below, can also cover stems flowers and fruit.
The pest can move via air currents, honey bees, or humans touching the symptomatic leaves. If you suspect your tree has LEM, do not touch the plant as you can spread the mite. Please contact FDACS – DPI at 1-888-397-1517 or DPIHelpline@FDACS.gov immediately. You may also contact me at 305-248-3311, ext. 227 or email@example.com.