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.


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Answer from NGA
June 11, 1998

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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!


A comment from debe65
January 18, 2020
What are these insects called and where do they come from? I have had a palm plant for about 5 years that has/had this infestation of sticky substance on the plant and all over the floor near the plant most recently. I, also, have other plants in the room that I have checked for the scales too. You have helped me tremendously with trying to get rid of these creatures - scales and sticky substance that I could see. I actually used a scrub brush and dish detergent and water in a bucket and scrubbed and wiped the stems and leaves down over and over to rid the brownish what you called scales of insects. I, also, used a little rubbing alcohol with water on a wet rag and wiped the leaves and stems. I hope they do not appear again!! I have this huge palm plant in my sunroom. I use to put it outside on the patio, but we have moved and it is really to big to drag to the porch. I will be watching my palm plant and not sure if there is anything else I can do. Thank you for helping me.

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