Answer: Spider mites are often found on palm fronds because they like dry, dusty sites and palms often get dusty. But, Spider mites leave a tell-tale webbing along with stippling on the leaves. If you couldn't find any mites, or any webbing, it's not likely these insects are the culprits. The white specks can indicate a fungal disease, caused by high humidity and poor air circulation. Or, they could be Mealy Bug insects. These are small pests covered with a white, cottony substance, but they generally congregate in colonies rather than appear individually on leaves. I'd suggest getting a second opinion by taking a sample to your local Cooperative Extension office or Master Gardener clinic. Phone (603) 788-4961 to find out where and when their plant problem diagnostic clinics are held.
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