Sticky Film On Palm - Knowledgebase Question

Torrance, CA
Question by brianc5
June 11, 1998
My indoor palm is COVERED with a shiny sticky film substance. It's even on the wall next to the plant and gets the carpet sticky. I have tried spraying it with pesticide but that doesn't work. When I take it outside and hose it down thoroughly the problem seems to go away but only for a few days. I can't find any visible "moving" pests on the branches, but the undersides of the leaves have brownish gunk on them --seem to be "pods" or something.

Answer from NGA
June 11, 1998


From your description I'd venture that there are scale insects feeding on your plant. Scales generally look like little bumps on stems and the undersides of leaves. They suck the juices out of the plant and leave behind a sticky residue. If the population is huge, you may have trouble getting rid of the little fellas. You can try to remove them with a dampened cotton swab, or even a wet paper towel. Scales are somewhat resistant to pesticides because they hunker down on the plant and they have a hard outer coating that protects them. Try to carefully remove them by hand - or consider tossing the plant and replacing it with an uninfested one. Scales, in large numbers, are really difficult to eradicate!

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