Keep an eye on those white spots.

Have you noticed a weird white substance on your palm trees? If your nodding yes, then your palm has a problem-mealybugs. Sounds disgusting, right! We want to help you get rid of these messy marauders and save your prized palms.

Palm tree suckers

Here's a close-up look at what's eating your palm tree.

First, let’s take a closer look at this pest. Mealybugs are tiny insects that when grouped together look like small cotton balls on the fronds, stems, and roots. The bugs suck the sap out of the tissue of the palm and create a sticky honeydew, which attracts sooty mold.

Cotton versus cotton

A small colony of the bugs can be taken care of by merely pruning that section of the palm. However, if you don’t want to get out the shears, grab the hose and blast them off with water. If that doesn’t get them all, try a more delicate approach and fight cotton with cotton. Dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and brush it on the white bugs. The alcohol dissolves their waxy forcefield and kills them. If your palm is covered in white spots, there are a bunch of soaps on the market that will wipe out heavy infestations.

Bug heroes and villains

All hail the Mealybug Destroyer.

In this battle of the bugs, there are friends and foes you should be aware of. First, the bad guys-ants. The tiny crawlers have a great relationship with mealybugs. Ants eat the honeydew the bugs produce while eating your palms. Ants will even protect their frond feeding friends from predators. The ants don’t damage palm trees but do present their usual problems.

On the other hand, here’s another reason to love ladybugs. The beetles with the lovely name have a more menacing nickname Mealybug Destroyers, especially a species with an orange head and black body. You can even order a box of them online. The ladybugs don’t only mess up mealybugs; they eat the honeydew.

Remember to be on the look-out for that sickly looking white cotton on your palms and control the bugs before they pollute all your palms. And if you need an expert, contact your friends at Esterline Landscape.

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