Palm trees are some of the most popular plants for sunny environments. Whether grown outside or indoors in containers, palms are beautiful to have around. Like any plant, though, they are susceptible to certain pests and insects. On occasion, you may want to treat them to get rid of the pests.
What Kind of Pests Effect Palm Trees?
Here's a shortlist of pests that affect palm trees.
- Mealybugs are sucking insects that leave behind a fluffy white coating on the plant.
- Aphids are sucking insects, and their telltale mark is a black or brown spot, surrounded by a white ring.
- Scale Insects are invisible to the eye but leave behind raised bumps on the surface of the palm leaf.
- Caterpillars, particularly saddlebacks and palm leaf skeletonizers, are the young form of moths and butterflies. They attack the underside of the palm leaf and eat holes into them.
- Weevils, particularly the Red Palm and Palmetto weevils attack the larger palm trees from the inside out. Recently transplanted or stressed trees are most susceptible. Look for egg lays near the base of the leaf to stop them before they start.
- Spider mites are common on indoor and outdoor palms. They feed on the leaf, which will begin to turn yellow as an indicator of mite activity.
Best Palm Tree Insecticides
Now that we've established which pests we should look out for, let's look at the approaches you can take to treat them. Some bugs, like mites, can be approached with a simple solution of insecticidal soap. Other insects, like weevils, are avoided by not stressing your trees. But for some of these pests, you'll need an insecticide to help do the job.
What are the best palm tree insecticides out there? We've compiled a list for you.
1. Monterey Horticultural Oil
This pest control is excellent for use on aphids, leaf miners, leafhoppers, thrips, spider mites, scales, whiteflies, mealybugs, and many more. It's not the right choice for caterpillar infestation, however. This is safe to use both during dormant and growing seasons. It's also organic gardening approved. Mix it up in a spray bottle and apply it to penetrate the leaf canopy.
2. Bonide Annual Tree And Shrub Insect Control
This pest control is excellent for use on aphids, scale, and many other species of bug. It also prevents new infestations. This concentrate dissolves in water and allows the insecticide to move through the root zone. Once in the roots, it moves up through the tree or shrub, protecting from insects. This insecticide is harmful to pollinators, and if you have bees nearby, you might consider using a different product. This is a once-yearly application.
3. Bonide Granules
Another product from Bonide, this is not a liquid, but granules to shake on the ground around the plant. This easy application product kills aphids that attack palm trees. The application lasts eight weeks. As with other insecticides, be mindful of nearby bees and hummingbirds when applying. This is not for plants that produce edibles if you're thinking of using it on something other than your palm trees.
4. Trifecta Crop Control Organic Insecticide
This all-natural formula made from essential oils is an earth-friendly way to battle mites, aphids, and scale insects on your palm trees. It's pre-mixed and ready to use straight from the convenient spray bottle. This is a superb choice for indoor palm trees if you have kids or pets and don't want to introduce harsher pesticides into the environment.
5. Safer Insect Killing Soap
This insect soap targets aphids and mites on your potted palm plants. It also works on scaly bugs, too. It doesn't kill beneficial insects and has no residual effect on the environment. This is a smart choice for using inside the home. The convenient spray bottle means no mixing, and you can use it when it arrives.
6. Garden Safe Insect Killer
This easy-spray insect killer kills all stages of insects, including eggs. It will work on aphids, mites, mealybugs, scales, and even caterpillars. It's made out of the extract of a chrysanthemum flower and is safe for use indoors and outdoors. It kills the pests on contact, is pre-mixed, and ready to use.
7. Caterpillar Killer From Safer
Caterpillars got you down? This concentrate liquid caterpillar killer from Safer will put the kibosh on those pesky insects. This uses a naturally occurring bacterium to kill and control caterpillars and other leaf-eating worms. They stop feeding immediately after ingesting the bacterium, known scientifically as Bacillus Thuringiensis var. Kurstaki (B.t. for short). Even better, this product does not affect birds, earthworms, or beneficial insects such as honeybees and ladybugs.
8. Hose Control Caterpillar Killer
This product hooks directly to your garden hose, which makes spraying your taller palms much less of a hassle. It kills caterpillars and all other larval state insects. It won't harm birds, other beneficial insects, or earthworms. You can also buy it in concentrate if you prefer to spray with a different method than through your garden hose.
9. Spider Mite Killer
Do your indoor palms have spider mites? This concentrated formula is one of the best natural miticides on the market. It kills spider mites on contact. Made from a powerful blend of plant oils, it kills eggs as well as adult mites. The 2 oz. bottle makes 2 gallons of miticide, so will take care of a whole house full of palm trees. Be sure to shake it vigorously before each use to mix the oils well.
10. Doctor Doom Spider Mite Knockout
Here's an aerosol spray miticide from Doctor Doom. With a name like this, you know it's not going to be suitable for the bugs. This product is also useful for aphids and other pests that could affect household plants other than palms. The easy spray gives good coverage, and no mixing is needed. Have a couple on hand to make sure you never have an infestation.
11. Tanglefoot Insect Barrier Tub
If you have a weevil infestation, the best way to deal with it is using traps and interval spraying to kill off the adult bugs so they can't produce eggs. With this product, you create a band around your tree out of paper, then apply the Tanglefoot. Insects get trapped, as they work their way up the trunks. Once the band is loaded with bugs, remove it and reapply a new band.
12. Tangle Guard Banding Material
You'll need banding material in conjunction with using the Tanglefoot sticky barrier for weevils. This is a 3" x 50' roll of banding material for wrapping your tree trunks. Once wrapped, apply your sticky barrier to kill any offending insects and save your palm trees.
13. Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Granules
This shake-on granule product works by spreading it on the ground around your infected plant. Rain comes, and the water carries the insecticide down to the roots of the palm tree, which in turn, takes it up and kills the insects that are feeding on it. This works on both outdoor and indoor palms. During heavy bug or infestation times, you'll want to reapply this product every eight weeks.
14. Neem Oil Concentrate Insecticide
Neem Oil is another safe for humans, but harmful for insects product you can use on spider mites and aphids. This concentrate comes in a two-pack of 16 oz. bottles that should last you for a while. Bonide's 3-in-1 Neem Oil is great because it kills the egg, larvae, and adult stages of insects while also preventing the fungal attack of plant tissues. This product arrives as a concentrate. Mix before application.
15. Monterey Lawn & Garden Biological Insecticide
This product is for the control of worms and caterpillars on palm trees. It contains a bacterial that targets the pests digestive system and causes them to die within a few hours of eating the product. This comes as a concentrate and needs mixing before application.
With a smart combination of these products or similar products, you should be well-armed against palm tree-killing pests. The first step is to identify your particular problem, then target them with the right solution. Your gorgeous plants will thank you for it.
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