Termites in Palms

Asked March 18, 2013, 4:10 PM EDT

My brother has two large California palms. He recently noticed termite tunnels on the outer bark along the lower 3-4 feet of the trunks. Upon closer inspection, we saw that the bark was loosening, and we found termite grubs underneath it. A Google search provided two contradictory solutions. One solution was to kill the termites by injecting the trees with pesticide and treating a trench around the base of the tree. The other solution said palms naturally shed their lower bark and we shouldn't worry.

Pima County Arizona trees and shrubs insect issues tree health horticulture

1 Response

Hi,

I suspect these are what we call true desert termites. Their habit is to build earthen coatings on plants like palms and scrape off the dead wood. I would not treat the trees or worry about them. If you want a positive identification you can capture a few, put them in a jar with rubbing alcohol and bring them to my office.

Peter