The Q&A Archives: small white bugs

Question: I have a new 6 foot palm tree it has small white bugs by the base of the tree.How do I get rid of these bugs?

Answer: It's difficult to tell for sure from your description, but you might be seeing garden symphylans. Garden symphylans are small, no more than a quarter-inch typically. They will be white or cream, almost translucent in some cases, with relatively long antennae. They may have up to 12 legs, but may have less. They will be flat and segmented, like a centipede would be. In fact, they look so much like a centipede, that they are frequently called ?garden centipedes?. Garden symplylans won't harm your palm but they sometimes feed on annual and perennial seedlings.

If this description does not match what you are seeing, submit another question with a more detailed description of the insects, or collect a few and take them to your local cooperative extension office for positive identification. Once you know what you're dealing with you can determine whether or not they need to be controlled. Best wishes with your palm!

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