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my boston fern is infested

Monique Reed monique at mail.bio.tamu.edu
Wed Mar 8 09:43:13 EST 2000

Are the white lumps furry-looking?  That might mean mealybugs.  Brown
lumps on ferns are usually scale insects.  Both pests move very
little, do a lot of damage, and are difficult to control.  Small
populations can be dabbed off with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab, but
larger infestations usually require an insecticide, and insecticidal
soap, or application(s) of dormant oil to smother the pests.  My
advice would be to take an infested front to the best local nursery
you can find, get a firm diagnosis of the problem, and then look for a
product that will take care of the problem.  Make sure what you use is
labeled for ferns.  They can be very fussy about chemicals.

If some part of your plant is unaffected, you might want to divide the
plant and pot it up.  That way you will have saved some of Gertie.

M. Reed

"Kevin M. Windisch" wrote:
> My beloved boston fern, Gertie (yes I name my plants) is infested. The bugs
> start as white lumps the size of a piece of short grain rice (sweetrice)
> which later turn brown. They are adherrent to the stalks of the fern from
> the base out to the apex, but do not seem to attach themselves to the
> leaves). They appear to hold on the the fern via a glue that they secrete as
> opposed to using limbs.
> For what it is worth, we live in northern nevada (Reno) and she is a
> strictly indoor plant.
> Does anybody know what this is and how to kill it without harming the
> fern???
> Please reply directly to my email.
> Time is of the essence, she is dying.
> Thanks
> Kevin M. Windisch

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