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Ferns/Stag horn has black bugs


Dear Dan,
Hope you can help me with my small stag horn fern.  There are what looks like pin-size eggs all over leaves. When eggs hatch there are teeny pin-head size bugs that come out.  I cleaned the eggs off that leaf and now the entire plant is covered with them!  What is this.  The leaves are green at this time but I'd like to treat it so I can save my fern.  

Location is a northwest facing lanai in Ft. Myers, FL.  Thanks so much!
Woody Peek

Woody hi;

From your description, it sounds like you may have some spider-mites.

Of course, in order to know for sure, I would need to see some close detailed pictures of said eggs and bugs.

Regardless, the quickest and easiest solution would be mixing a cup with 50% water and 50% dish detergent, and then wiping that with a wet rag all over the plants (both leaf surfaces, top and bottom).  Leave that for 48 hours and then repeat with clean water.

Also, you need to look around your plant to try and identify where the bugs are coming from and, if needed, eliminate the problem.

If this does not solve your problem, then I would suggest sending me some samples so I can look under the microscope and identify exactly what kind of pest you have and then suggest the appropriate pesticide (chemical or natural, depending on the pest and your preferences).

In any case, I hope the first solution does the trick.

Best of luck!



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Dan Carmi


I can answer all types of questions regarding ferns: their physiology, life cycle, taxonomy, culture (for both the professional and hobbyist), home and garden application and care, site suitability, and more. I can also answer questions in the fields of greenhouse production, foliage plants, and houseplant care, along with questions in the general field of ornamental horticulture. I may be able to identify fern and foliage plants by photo, but I am unlikely to be able to do it by description (though I will never turn down a challenge). I am not an expert in crop, field, and agronomic production. I am not an expert on annuals, perennials, tree & shrub crops.


I am a horticulturist with a formal education and twelve years experience in commercial fern and tropical foliage production. I also served as Adjunct Professor of Horticulture at Florida Southern College.

Florida's Nursery Growers and Landscape Association: current member and Action Chapter Board Member 2006-2008.

I have a BSc in Environmental Horticulture / Business from Florida Southern College, specializing in Greenhouse Management and Production.

Awards and Honors
FNGLA Action Chapter President's Award 2006-2007, numerous academic awards 2001-2005.

Past/Present Clients
Through my place of employment, I serve hundreds of commercial growers across the country and beyond.

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