TIPS ON PALM LEAVES - Knowledgebase Question

Collinsville, Il
Question by tonyandbob26
March 18, 2010
I have just noticed that my Palms being indoor for the Winter, have a shiney-stick film on leaves. Also, have noticed that there are tiny, brown nodgules on the leaves. I hope this is not some kind of infestation? Since the weather is warm, today, I took it outside and hosed it down, trying to get the sticky residue and brown nodgules off leaves. Please advise what problem is and help? Bob

Answer from NGA
March 18, 2010


The sticky substance is called honeydew and it is a result of insect feeding. The insects, based upon your description, are probably scale insects. These little pests are difficult to control because they develop a hard, waxy outer shell. Most treatments will adversely affect your palms so you may have to resort to dabbing each and every one of those little brown bumps with a Q-Tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. This will dry out the outer shell and kill the pests, but each one will then have to be peeled off with a fingernail or tweezers or a toothpick. If the plants are totally involved, it might be easier (and much more successful) to simply toss them and replace them with healthy specimens. Once a plant has a population of scale insects it's really difficult to control them. Little crawler scales are probably all ready on the move and you won't even notice them until they attach themselves to a likely feeding spot and begin to grow large enough to see. Wish I could be more positive about your palms!

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