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help with a palm (and others)

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by tethead on March 12, 2006 07:26 AM
Hey folks. I was wondering if anybody can be kind enough to please take a look at some pics of one of my palms, there appears to be this white stuff growing on it. We've noticed a few flying insects around it, so I thought they may be hatching from there (or feeding off it at least). We had a fern that was covered nearly 100% in this, lost all its green, so was likely the source -- that was thrown in the garbage earlier, so unfortunately no pics... but now that i'm starting to notice it on the other plants, i'm starting to get worried.

I just snapped a few close up shots, please take a look at them here:

Any ideas? We thought mold or something, but I honestly haven't the slightest clue...

Thank you very much!
by GardenGuy_Gardener on March 12, 2006 08:16 AM
Shoot i can't find my house plant book. I remember something though..It might be whityfly or mtes but i'm not sure. You should get opinions from the other people here

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The good thing about snow is that it makes your yard look just like your neighbors! [Big Grin]
by FRITO on March 12, 2006 11:48 AM
Looks to be an infestation mealy bugs.

I had them on one of my cacti. it nearly killed it i worked hard to save it but lost a good part of the plant.

here it is on my cactus:

by Marajane on March 12, 2006 11:57 AM
Holy mealy bugs, batman! Isolate any affected plants and declare war. There are ton of excellent sites on the web about mealy bug eradication, but I use a non-toxic formulation called Brand X (shines the leafs up real nice, too). You can read more about the buggers here:

Good luck!
by ShirlS on March 12, 2006 12:02 PM
Yep sure does look like mealy bug infestation. When you treat it, I suggest you take the plant and put it into a garbage bag. Spray the stuff you are going to use, and then seal the bag for 24 hours. it keeps everything inside.

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Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
by tethead on March 12, 2006 12:11 PM
wow, thanks folks! i'm looking thru Google now, seems like these bugs are pretty impervious to a lot of common insecticides. i've got cats too, so there's not a lot i can do chemically... there are probably too many to dab individually with alcohol - can i mix some with water and spray it on? how about mixing Ivory soap with water, i heard that works well (obviously a very weak mix, as not to cover the plants with soap). the fern was completely eaten alive by these things, but it doesn't look like anything else has been that severely infected quite yet. i do have several cacti, and i surely want to protect those, so i will try to start treatment first thing tomorrow.

thanks for all your replies, if you have any other suggestions i'd love to hear em...
by Cricket on March 12, 2006 01:26 PM
I second Brand X as the best pest eradicator [thumb] however, an effective home remedy is to dab each mealybug with a rubbing alcohol saturated Q-tip. Or if the infestation is too great, mix a solution of 1 part alcohol to 8-10 parts, add a squirt of dish soap to help spread the mix around, then thoroughly spray the entire plant, making sure you get every nook and cranny hiding place. Repeat the treatment in a week to catch the stragglers.
by Will Creed on March 19, 2006 09:59 AM

Where can I get this Brand X stuff?
by Marajane on March 19, 2006 10:14 AM
Brand X: For information about an excellent plant cleaner that also has an extraordinary ability to safely eradicate mealybugs and scale insects, go to
by Ming Lover on March 19, 2006 10:42 AM
I don't mean to butt into your conversation but Brand X really does work, Will! Where nothing else previously tried worked, 2 year aphid and scale infestations were eradicated after only a couple Brand X treatments. You won't regret giving it a try.
by Will Creed on March 19, 2006 12:06 PM
Thanks for the tip! I apologize for the name misspelling: guess I had other stuff on my mind.
by tethead on March 19, 2006 09:28 PM
just a bit of an update... last Sunday I mixed some alcohol and Ivory in a spray bottle and treated the plants, within a couple of days a lot of the white areas have now turned black, and there are a few ants even that seem to have found their way up the plants and appear to be eating the dead mealy bugs. i think i'm going to give them another treatment today, killing off the remaining bugs i hope... but if it's not significantly better by next week i'll go ahead and order thant Brand-X stuff.

thanks again for everybody's input, it's very much appreciated!!

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