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Indoor white bird of paradise

I have an indoor white bird of paradise, but it has these little brown spots that come off if you wipe the leaves or with your fingernail; it's also secreting this really sticky sap like stuff and it's all over my wood floor, very sticky!!! Not sure what this is and maybe you could help me resolve this issue, thanks

Oh, boy, this doesn't sound good. What your poor plant has is scale, which are, believe it or not, insects. The brown spots that you can scrape off are the adults - the bad news is that the juvenile form, called crawlers, are very mobile and will move into other plants too. Isolate the affected plant right now! Then, wash your hands really well so you don't accidentally transfer them, and check your other plants. If they don't have them, don't let your guard down. Scale are something that is really hard to get rid of, and depending on what kind they are, you will have to be vigilant for ever more.

The sticky stuff is called 'honeydew' and this is the waste product eliminated by the insects.

Okay, so you've decided to give your plant a chance, and not just toss it into the garbage, which is your only other option.

Here's what I've done to get rid of them, pretty much successfully.

First of all, scrape off as many as you can, and get rid of them in the garbage (or burn them). Then mix up one quart of warm water with some insecticidal soap, or dish soap (not detergent) and a few drops of cooking oil, like safflower oil, olive oil or similar. Shake vigorously, and spray all sides of the plant. You'll need to do this every day for at least a week or two. Don't give up, this can take a long time to kill the adults (smothering them with the oil) and as the eggs hatch out, they will leave the protection of the egg case, so you will eventually eliminate them.

Good luck with this - you'll need it.

Jacki

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