bay tree - Knowledgebase Question

hamden, Co
Question by emcoates
February 26, 2011
I have a bay tree that iI bring inside each fall.This year I just noticed a clear sticky sub stance on the leaves.What can I do

Answer from NGA
February 26, 2011


The clear sticky substance probably indicates an insect infestation. Scale and mealybug insects feed on the fluids within the tissues of the leaves and stems. As they do so they excrete a sticky substance called honeydew. I think this is what you are seeing on the leaves of your bay tree. It will wash off with water but you'll really want to control the insect pests before they damage your plant. Look closely at the stems and undersides of the leaves directly above the sticky residue. Scales look like brown bumps; mealybugs often look like tufts of cotton. You can remove the insects with fingernails or tweezers or you can dab them with a Q-Tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. Or you can spray your plant with a neem oil based insecticide. Repeat applications will be necessary to get every last one of those pesky insects.

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