Florida’s palm trees are in danger from an invasive bacterial disease

Florida — An invasive bacteria disease is killing tens of thousands of Florida’s palm trees.

Lethal bronzing turns the trees into dried up crisps in just months and there is no chance of recovery once a tree is infected.

The disease originates in Mexico and is believed to have been brought to Florida during Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

It is spread by a rice-sized plant hopping insect, called the haplaxius crudus, and first appeared near Tampa in 2006, but it's now found across the state.

The disease spread when winds blow infected bugs to new territories or they hitched rides on vehicles, this bug is particularly attracted to white cars.

The bug injects the bacteria into the tree through its saliva when eating the sap from the palms leaves.

Once the bacteria is inside a tree, the cells migrate to its base, multiplying until they clog the circulatory system, choking and killing the tree within six months.

Experts say its similar to how cholesterol clogs human arteries.

Studies are underway to stop the disease, possibly by injecting massive doses of preventive antibiotics into the palms.

One expert says he does not think all of the palms will die, but he believes the problem will get worse before it gets better.

The disease doesn't infect humans or animals.

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