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An areca palm I own has an insect infestation that I've had trouble identifying. I've been unable to locate any non-egg mature examples, only the eggs that tend to be in nooks around the plant, typically under leaves. They look like very tiny white cylinders that tend to be in small clusters around veins.

I removed most of the infestation and sprayed with an insecticide but it seems to be coming back. I need help with identification and figuring out a way to deal with it.

Prior to clearing it out the first time a few leaves had enough of them on some leaves to be visible from a distance, so it may be that these aren't eggs but are mature.

Areca Palm white eggs Areca Palm white eggs

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I don't see any indication of thrip. The indications are long thin looping trails where the larvae are eating inside the leaf and small black spots of "frass" or poop. Adult thrip can often be seen under the leaf and they are the size of an exclamation mark. Thrip are very hard to control as the larvae are inside the leaf. In commercial interior plantings the best solution is to throw the plant out as systemic insecticides are rarely allowed to be used inside buildings or dwellings.

It could be spider mites which are much more common than thrip. I recommend the following control measures:

  • isolate the plant from any others which might be infected
  • cut it back hard, the less palm fronds the less you have to do control on
  • use 5 ml of dish soap to 1 litre of water and a rag or cloth. Dip in the soap solution and rub down the remaining fronds top and bottom. Wait a few minutes and wash it with water. Repeat at five to six day intervals three times.
  • if possible move to a higher light situation and observe for any further pest damage. A magnifying glass is very helpful in situations like this.
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I think this is thrip damage, infestation. What did you spray for control? Sending a site of thrip eggs which is what I think those white spots could be without a loop to see better. The silvery look of the underside of the leaves are very indicative of thrip. I'd use NEEM for sure. Could you send a picture with a penny in the picture for scale? Thrips are common for palms...pictures of thrip

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