The Q&A Archives: My triangle palm disease

Question: I have a palm tree for several years now (I think it is a triangle palm). Recently I noticed some of the leaves started looking like they are wet; then, I noticed a bug (possibly), initially green, small,oval, firmly attached to the leaves, multiplies fast and doesn't move. No color change on the leaf. Sprayed few times with an insecticide, the bug turns brown, and then falls off easily. Few weeks later the problem reappears. I've been doing this for 4 times already. Help me solve it, please.

Answer: What you describe sounds like scale insects. Palm leaf scales are actually mature female insects. They literally are just a small headless, legless bump and once the female has matured, is unable to move from where it has planted itself. Palm leaf scales damage the palm leaf by inserting a straw like appendage into the leaf and sucking the fluids out. One scale will not hurt your palm but as they multiply, the sheer numbers can slowly kill a tree.

Palm leaf scales are very difficult to get rid of but it can be done. Typical treatment for palm scale is to repeatedly spray the palm tree leaves with horticultural oil or a mixture of equal parts rubbing alcohol and water mixed with some dish soap. If you have the patience, you can paint straight rubbing alcohol onto each scale individually.

Best wishes with your eradication project!

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