The majesty palm is prone to pest infestation when grown in hot and dry environments. During spring and summer, these pests attack palms causing damage to their foliage and stunting growth. How do you get rid of spider mites on majesty palms?
Mix rubbing alcohol with water in a ratio of 1:4 and pour the solution into a garden sprayer. Spray the infested majesty palm with the alcohol treatment to kill all spider mites on contact. Repeat after every 3 days to get rid of the newly hatched spider mites on your majesty palm trees.
There are different species of spider mites that attack different types of plants including different varieties of palm trees. They include the spruce spider mite, the carmine spider mite, the strawberry spider mite, and the southern red spider mite.
Majesty palms are commonly attacked by the two-spotted spider mites. This mite has a yellow or orange colour with one dark spot on the two sides of the body. A mature spider mite has eight legs, just like those of a spider. But a young spider mite will have six legs.
Signs of Spider Mites on Majesty Palms
The causes of spider mites vary. An infestation occurs when you introduce an infested palm tree, a pet or human carrying the eggs or live spider mites from other plants in the garden touches other plants. Wind can also blow the tiny mites from one plant to another.
Since spider mites are very tiny pests that you can’t see with your bare eye, it takes close observation to notice signs of early infestation. You’ll notice small spots that cover the underside of the majesty palm. On close observation under a magnifying lens, you’ll see small insects that resemble ticks and spiders. Soon, the plant starts showing symptoms of weakness and stress.
Here are the signs of spider mites on majesty palms:
Yellow or brown spots on the leaves
The brown or yellowish colour of your majesty palm tree occurs because the spider mites have sharp wounding mouths. The mouths pierce the leaves to feed on the leaf sap and chlorophyll.
Once they start feeding on the leaves, the plant loses moisture and the dark green colour and starts turning yellow. With extensive feeding, the leaves of the majesty palm start turning brown as a sign they are dying.
Small webs that resemble spider webs
If you see small webs on your indoor or outdoor majesty palm trees it is highly likely a sign of spider mite infestation. At the onset of the spider mite attack, they start forming silk-like threads at the tips of the majesty palm leaves.
As time goes, you’ll notice the tiny dots forming a net on the underside of the palm leaf and close to the trunks.
Leaf weakening and bleaching
Spider mites feed on the sap in the leaves of the majesty palm. In the process, chlorophyll is lost leaving the plant looking dull and bleached. On close observation, you’ll see the palm tree’s leaves starting to dry, hence the greyish colour of the leaves.
Small black or brown dots on the undersides of leaves
Small black or brown spots on the undersides of leaves occur due to the damage the pests cause to your plants. In addition, the mites are very tiny and appear as small black spots on your plants.
Spider mites have two black spots on each side of their body. Therefore when they attack the majesty palm and form a web, the small dark spots become visible on the lower part of the leaves.
Another sure sign you have these mites on your plants is to shake it gently while holding a white piece of paper under the tree. If you notice tiny brown particles the size of a pepper grain and 1mm long, then your plant has a spider mite infestation.
How to Get Rid of Spider Mites on Majesty Palms
Spider mites can wreak havoc for both outdoor and indoor majesty palm trees. Moreover, it becomes a disaster if you take no action. The spider mite attack makes the plants weak, leaves start to curl, eventually leading to plant death.
Here are different ways to get rid of spider mites on majesty palms:
1. Apply rubbing alcohol on the plants
Spray or rub the leaves of the affected plant using alcohol to kill the spider mites. After spraying across the leaves, let the alcohol stay on the leaves for some time, then hose the plant with plenty of water to wash away the mites.
2. Apply neem oil to kill spider mites
Neem oil is the best choice, natural and safe way to kill spider mites. Research has shown that mixing Neem Oil with a little castile soap and lukewarm water, then spraying on the spider mites, affects the hormonal balance and suffocates the insects, thus killing them.
3. Use hot pepper
Hot pepper is toxic when sprayed on the spider mite. Therefore you can make a solution of hot pepper at home and spray it on your majesty palm to get rid of the spider mites.
4. Isolate the infested palm trees
The first step when you note that only a few plants have an infestation is removing the affected plant from the rest. That will help minimize the spread to other plants that have not been attacked.
Be gentle when isolating the plants to avoid the mites from falling on other plants or avoid carrying them on your cloth.
Nonetheless, if only a few leaves have been affected by the mites, prune the leaves. But if it is the whole plant, assess the damage to ascertain whether you can destroy the plant or only get rid of the spider mites.
The pruned leaves and stems must be appropriately disposed of in a trash bin to avoid spreading the mites to other plants.
Besides, pruning alone might not help much. Therefore ensure you treat the pruned plant before returning it to other majesty palm trees.
5. Introduce spider mite predators
If you don’t want to use chemical spider mite killers, you can introduce natural predators to get rid of these pests on your plants. These predators control spider mite populations in gardens and landscapes by eating them and their eggs.
Natural spider mite predators include ladybugs, thrips, predatory mites (also known as Phytoseiulus persimilis), and lacewings. You can introduce these insects to your majesty palm plants to help keep the spider mites in control at all times.
However, to encourage the survival of these predator insects, ensure you irrigate your plants frequently and maintain a mulch in your flowerpot or garden. Also, avoid using pesticides that might be harmful to these insects.
6. Apply a spider mite killer (chemical control)
After you have tried the use of natural predators but the spider mites do not seem to disappear, then you will have to use chemicals to get rid of them. It is not the best method, but you can get the help of a pesticide expert.
The common pesticides used to get rid of the spider mites include
- Horticultural oil
- Insecticidal soap
- Diatomaceous earth
These pesticides will help get rid of the adult spider mites and also killing the eggs. When spread on the affected plant, the diatomaceous earth dehydrates the mites, thus killing them.
Remember, these insecticides might not be harmful to humans, but they can kill beneficial insects. It is therefore recommended that you get insecticides that are specifically formulated to kill spider mites. An example of such pesticide is the miticide.
To prevent spider mites from attacking your majesty palms, do the following.
- When buying a new plant from the tree nursery or the garden, pay attention and avoid carrying the infested plant home.
- Isolate and remove the affected plant from the rest. This will minimize the spread to other plants.
- Perform a routine of inspecting your majesty palm trees.
- Spider mites thrive well in dry, warm, or hot conditions. Therefore ensure that your plants are irrigated at all times to maintain moisture around them. This helps to curb and manage the spider mites.
- For indoor plants, avoid displaying them closer to windows or doors where wind can blow spider mites to stick on them. Avoid dust on them by rubbing with a moist rug at least once a week.
How Do Indoor Palm Trees Get Spider Mites?
Indoor palm trees are less likely to be attacked by spider mites. However, the following conditions can promote mite infestation.
- Bringing an infested plant from the tree nursery or garden to your home.
- Spider mites can be carried by your pet when it comes in contact with them, eventually ending up in your home and to your trees.
- Wind can also be a medium in which the spider mites can travel to your indoor plant.
- Leaving your plants dusty, dehydrated, and dry soil enhances a breeding environment for spider mites.
You can also carry spider mites on your cloth or hair when you come in contact with an infested plant in the garden, tree nursery, or even in the market.