Spider mites on Majestic Palms



There are white legged worms on the surface soil of majestic palms…Do you know what that is. I tried spraying rubbing alcohol mixture. I assume these are pests. Any tips on how to get rid of themÉ

Thank you.


Thank you for your question for Toronto Master Gardeners.

I am assuming that the palm is an indoor plant. From your description, the problem could be spider mites, which are common pests of Ravenea rivularis.  Majestic palms are challenging, high-maintenance houseplants; they are heavy feeders and drinkers, needing full sun and high humidity. This means their health can be easily compromised if they are not treated with first class service. Once weakened, they are susceptible to mites and this can cause them to fail.

If you would like to try and rescue your palm, I would recommend taking paper towel and harvesting all the mites you see on the soil. Then you’ll have to manoeuvre it into a shower where you can spray the tops and the undersides of the leaves. Follow this with a a spray of insecticidal soap, being sure to use as directed by the manufacturer. You will need to repeat this procedure on a regular basis, perhaps monthly, as you may not get 100% of the mites each time. Try to raise the palm’s humidity level.

Recommended reading about palms and houseplants plants in general:

  • Any website created by a reputable palm grower.
  • Houseplants, David Squire & Meredith Crowther. Chancellor Press, London, 1995.
  • Miracle-Gro Complete Guide to Houseplants. Meredith Books, Des Moines, Iowa, 2008