White Critters on Sago Palm

scott7876(9/W Melbourne)November 24, 2009

Hi All:

I have a nice potted Sago Palm that has been doing very well, lots of new growth, etc. I noticed today the bottoms of a few of the leaves have a small white insect, white fuzzy look, kind of resembles an aphid. Some of the leaves are rather heavily infested, and are beginning to die off. Is this the scale that is infecting Sagos, or mealy bugs or ?? I hosed them off with water and sprayed them with an oil spray, hopefully that will take care of it. just curious as to what it might be? Hopefully I don't lose the plant, as it's a beauty.



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boson(Delray Beach,Florida)

Hi Scott,

Is it mealy bugs? If so, then neem spray will take care of them. At least from my own experience with mealy bugs.


    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 12:24PM
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scott7876(9/W Melbourne)

I guess they are mealy bugs, from looking at some of the photos that show up after a Google search. Not sure what the scale that seems to affect the Sagos looks like. I dispatched them with a strong spray of water, and some Neem oil, so maybe that will do the trick.


    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 12:29PM
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Research Aulacaspis cycad scale and Magnolia scale. They appear similar. Their have been numerous discussions in this forum regarding cycads with pest problems. "cycadjungle" (search this forum for his posting name) has had success using coffee grounds to treat the Aulacaspis scale. We lost a 20' Queen sago to this pest.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 6:12PM
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johnjsr(9A DeLand)

Whether it's Asian cycad scale, magnolia scale or mealy bugs, you are on the right track with what you have done. Bayer make a product called Tree and Shrub that will finish the job, but you will have to apply it about every 6 months if it is the Asian cycad scale. You don't spray it, you drench the plant with it, soak the roots. The best time is just when you see a new flush of growth. The chem is Imidicloprid, same thing you put on your dog or cat for fleas. I use 2 ounces in 5 gals of water.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 7:52PM
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two tablespoons of organiside and two tablespoons of malathion....spray the whole palm. white scale should be soft and wet when alive, after spraying, couple of days, should be dry and flakey.repeat every six months. your critter is in the root ball, not going away and will kill palm if not attended to.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 11:08PM
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scott7876(9/W Melbourne)

Thanks for all the info, folks. It looks like it might be mealy bugs. I gave it a good blast with water and Neem oil spray, so I'll need to monitor the patient closely!

Thanks Again


    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 4:23PM
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Scott - This is a battle you will never win. The scale has been here for decades and we've been losing Sagos to it on a regular basis. What you ARE doing is adding to the chemical pollution of the water table with all the chemicals. The best choice is to replace the Sago with something else that is less disease-prone.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 8:42AM
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babalu_aye(zone 9b - St Pete FL)

We've got four sagos and have had great success using coffee grounds to battle the scale. We get bags of used coffee grounds from Starbucks, and use it like a mulch (an inch or two deep) around the base of the trunk. It has to be reapplied about twice a year.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 12:20PM
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