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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #375105

Research Project: Integrating Remote Sensing, Measurements and Modeling for Multi-Scale Assessment of Water Availability, Use, and Quality in Agroecosystems

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Title: Tracking red palm mite damage in the Western Hemisphere invasion with Landsat remote sensing data

item RODRIGUES, J. C. V. - University Of Puerto Rico
item Cosh, Michael
item Hunt Jr, Earle
item DE MORAES, G. J. - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item BARROSO, G.S.P. - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item White, William - Alex
item Ochoa, Ronald - Ron

Submitted to: Insects
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/9/2020
Publication Date: 9/11/2020
Citation: Rodrigues, J., Cosh, M.H., Hunt Jr, E.R., De Moraes, G., Barroso, G., White, W.A., Ochoa, R. 2020. Tracking red palm mite damage in the Western Hemisphere invasion with Landsat remote sensing data. Insects. 11(9):627.

Interpretive Summary: Red palm mites are a devastating invasive species that cause palm tree losses without treatment. There is, however, an observable yellowing of the leaves due to the action of the mites and this may be a means of detecting infestation from common remote sensing products. An investigation was made of several sites in the Western Hemisphere to determine if it was possible to observe or predict infestation by this pest. Unfortunately, it was not possible with current technology to definitively determine infestation, although there were some small observable differences which may prove useful in the future. This work additionally discusses other limitations of the current technology. Developers of remote sensing instruments will be able to learn from this study what new methodologies may be necessary to develop for mite detection.

Technical Abstract: Red Palm Mites (Raoiella indica Hirst, Acari: Tenuipalpidae) invaded the islands and countries surrounding the Caribbean Sea, infesting coconut palm (Cocos nucifera L.). Detection of invasive pests usually relies upon the changes in vegetation properties as result of the pest activity. Frequently, these changes are visible in time series of satellite data records, such as Landsat, which are available for a 16-day repeat cycle at a spatial resolution of 30 m since 1982. Typical infestations result in the yellowing of the lower leaves of the palm crown; remote sensing model simulations indicate this feature may be detectable using green and near-infrared wavelengths. We used Google Earth Engine to create a time series of Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper, Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager data for plantations in central Brazil, El Salvador, and Trinidad-Tobago. There were little or no differences before and after the dates when red palm mites were first detected at each location.