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Last modified: 4 December 2005

Contacts and sources of information - Plant Health Department (BAHA); Coconut Palms in Belize

Occurrence - Lethal yellowing of coconut palms was first detected in northern Belize in 1992 and was reported in the Corozal area in 1993 (Escamilla et al, 1994 quoted by Arellano & Oropeza, 1995).

Spread - By late 1999 it was reported that the disease destroyed more than 95% of the tall coconut palms in Corozal, moved to Orange Walk and caused serious losses in the Belize District. Since its detection in Stann Creek it has infected a great portion of the susceptible palms in Dangriga Town and its outskirts. It was estimated that within 6 years around 50% of the tall coconut palms in Belize have been infected by the lethal yellowing and its spread is considered rapid. It has reached the cays and was active on North Ambergris cay in 1997. The LY track record in Belize as of August 1998 was that 95% of the tall palms in the Corozal/Orange Walk districts had died; 60-70% had died or were showing symptoms in the mainland Belize district; 85% had died or had symptoms in the Stann Creek/Dangriga area; Hopkins and Sittee had about 5% with symptoms; Calabash Cay in Turneffe was highly infected; Ambergris Cay had the highest concentration of OTC treated palms and the least damage from LY; Cay Caulker was infected evenly throughout the cay; St George's Cay was devastated: Middle Cay and Long Cay at Glover's reef were highly infected; South Water Cay had one evident LY center; there were no reports of LY in the southern cays in 1998. By mid-2001, LY has pretty much made its way through mainland Belize and most of what are the major cayes.  The last areas where the Plant Health Department detected it were the Toledo (deep south) and Cayo (west) Districts.  These areas have sparsely distributed stands of tall green coconuts.  Affected areas in the west, however, present the incidence of Red Ring which makes estimation of losses due to LY more difficult. 

Currently active areas -

Suspected new outbreaks -

Other palm/plant hosts - Reports that Veitchia (Adonidia) were showing possible resistance to LY have not been substantiated.

New hosts, new vectors, new strains or suspected loss of resistance -

Research projects

Rehabilitation/replanting programmes - the Maypan hybrid production programme which had been established at Central Farm in the 1990s was recently restarted in June 2001.

Economic importance/threat

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