Majestic palm pest - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Gabriela Merkel
Oregon (Zone 7b)
Question by Gabymerkel
September 11, 2017
Anyone have any tips on how to get rid of these pests? Or a more natural approach? I've tried showering it in my bathtub and spraying a mixture of water with a little bit of dish soap, garlic and hot peppers. Picture quality isn't as great on this site but they look like gnats and black aphid looking bugs.
Thumb of 2017-09-11/Gabymerkel/be33d0
Thumb of 2017-09-11/Gabymerkel/093ebb

Avatar for gymbody
A comment from gymbody
February 2, 2019
ive had the same thing and a half and half mixture of dr Bonners peppermint soup and water. sprayed on the leaves and dirt helped to remove them. after 4 to 5 days I showered the plant off and it was like new

Name: Rose M Worley

Avatar for willy123
A comment from willy123
February 5, 2019
If you can help me get rid of the Armadillos that are destroying my yard, I promise to find an answer for your question

Name: Will Creed
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Answer from WillC
September 15, 2017
If you are using this plant indoors, it is a lost cause. Majesty Palms have a terrible record as indoor plants. They need a lot of direct sun, lots of water, frequent fertilizing, generous air circulation and moderate humidity. They are very susceptible to spider mites, scale, and mealybugs. They are rarely presentable after being indoors for more than a year.

Your local climate is probably too cold to maintain it outside in winter, but it does better outside than in.

Soapy water alone will not be effective with scale or mealybugs. You will have to mix alcohol in with it. If you have flying gnats, that is an entirely different problem.

Frankly, I wish retailers would stop selling this plant for indoor use!

Avatar for ScotTi
Answer from ScotTi
September 11, 2017
If the palm is inside take it outside and with your garden hose blast (just hard enough to remove the pest) them off with water. Then spray with your soap and water mixture.

Avatar for ScotTi
A comment from ScotTi
September 11, 2017
Looks like scale insects.

Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
A comment from ctcarol
September 11, 2017
The soapy water needs to be repeated at 5 day intervals to get new generations until the plant is free of them.

Name: Andrea Reagan
Astatula, Florida (Zone 9a)
I collect seeds
Answer from Kevalsha
December 18, 2017
Try airing your palm by taking it outdoors as much as possible. Use a horticultural oil (outdoors) and repeat the treatment in about two months. After that keep an eye on the plant for reinsfestation.

Avatar for jaanineg
A comment from jaanineg
February 6, 2019
I'm a professional grower and I absolutely agree that All-Season (not dormant) horticultural oil is the answer. Use it outdoors to limit mess and watch for reappearance of pests - if they come back, reapply.

Avatar for yvonneilovej
Answer from yvonneilovej
February 2, 2019
I'm not a professional nor do I know much about plants. I had an infestation of little black bugs on my indoor plant (the flying kind). After trying the soapy water spray to no avail. I realized they lived in the soil so I put a layer of sand to cover the top of the soil. It did the trick. No more pest.

Virginia Beach
Avatar for holiday25
A comment from holiday25
January 4, 2020
Sand is a great idea and we use tangle foot on an index card (2" x 2")on top of the soil

Avatar for FernGrotto
Answer from FernGrotto
February 3, 2019
Appears that you have scale which has attracted other pests that love the scale honeydew. I've seen this so many times. The way I completely got rid of scale on my houseplants is by spraying with undiluted all-purpose household ammonia. It can take several drenchings (I place the plants in the bathtub) if you have a big plant or one that has many crevices for the scale to be hiding but ammonia will eventually kill them all. You need to spray both sides of the leaves and and all the stems and let it completely dry. You may think ammonia might be too strong but I've used it on all kinds of plants...palms, banana, ficus, ivy, lawai fern, schefflera, cycad, bromeliad, pony tail palm, etc. The plants actually love it, because it's nitrogen rich. In addition to killing the scale, it foliar feeds. It really greens them up! It also kills aphids.

To see if ammonia is harmful to your plant test it out on one leaf. You should know within a few hours. I would suspect Oxalis Triangularis would be sensitive to it, as it has a soap sensitivity. Found that out by spraying some other plants with Safer Soap and over spray caused some leaf necrosis.

Avatar for drewkilleen
Answer from drewkilleen
February 3, 2019
I've had success with many types of bugs using DE (Diatomaceous Earth, food grade)

Avatar for angelhill544
A comment from angelhill544
February 3, 2019
try neem oil it is effective on all of the pests have tried it on.

Name: Jim Brewer
Littlestown, PA (Zone 6b)
Answer from brewerjd
February 4, 2019
The problem sounds familiar to me. In raising hot pepper plants indoors, from seed, I have encountered a pest common to indoor plants....the Fungus Gnat. I have had success in controlling them using a combination of yellow sticky strips, "BioCare Gnat Stix Traps for Fungus Gnats and Aphids" and "Mosquito Dunks", a biological mosquito control which contains Bti, a natural mosquito larvicide, which also works for Fungus Gnat larvae. The adult gnats are very tiny and almost invisible except for when you see the glint of their wings. The larvae feed on the roots of indoor plants. The adults are attracted to the yellow sticky strips which are their ultimate demise. Hope this helps.

Virginia Beach
Avatar for holiday25
Answer from holiday25
February 4, 2019
Tangle foot-can purchase at Home Depot- works for everything in our gardens and house plants ...just place a thick strip of white paper on top of the soil- by plant stem-spread a little Tanglefoot on the paper--and holy cow-we trap many insects that were not seen before..

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