Palm Tree Pests: Rats, Termites & Roaches, Oh My!

By: Ken Wilson

Palm trees have a glamorous allure; their inclusion along various boulevards and coastlines worldwide cemented their position as luxury trees. As lovely as they look, palm trees attract different pests like rats, termites, and roaches.

So, what can one do to deter these palm tree pests?

Like with many pests, getting rid of rats, termites, and roaches from your palm tree does not just start and stop at the tree. While traps and poisons will kill and help to remove these pests, the best defense is to ensure that the palm tree and your property are not welcoming in the first place.

While the idea of a palm tree seething with pests is horrific and terrifying, don’t worry; we have put together all the best tips and tricks for safeguarding your home and palm trees from unwanted creepy crawlies and critters.

Palm Tree Pests: Rats, Termites, and Roaches

Palm trees are lovely plants, and we are not the only species that appreciates them. Many animals and insects find palm trees very attractive thanks to their bark, height, leaves, and fruit.

Palm trees offer food, shelter, and nesting material and provide a great hiding space, while this is not a problem so long as the pests don’t harm the trees or use them as access to homes when they do, it becomes a severe problem.

Rats can be very destructive; they carry disease and may eat food and holes in furniture and structures. Termites are equally harmful and can cause severe property damage. Other than being revolting to look at, roaches are equated with dirt and can also cause damage to furnishings.

All three of these pests like to make palm trees home, so how does one stop them and remove them? Let’s look at each pest in turn.

How to Get Rid of Rats in Palm Trees

Rats that like palm trees are known as palm rats, black rats, ships rats, or roof rats. Although small, they are very agile and good climbers, with palm trees offering an excellent climbing gym, ample nesting material, and even food.

Palms also offer good shelter as the rats nest high within the leaves. Palms situated near buildings also provide easy access to roofs. This can be problematic, not only because the rats will cause damage to the palms but also because they can cause havoc in the wiring in your home and expose you to disease.

So, how do we get rid of rats in palm trees? There are a few simple steps you can take to deter rats from your palm trees:

  • Trim your tree’s leaves.
  • Keep your yard tidy and clean, and remove fallen palm fruit to deter rats from your property.
  • Keep your house in good order, fixing all damage to limit access to rats.
  • Contact pest control to lay rat traps.
  • If poison is used, it has to be laid out in tamper-proof stations that are per state regulations; instead, opt not to use poison as it can harm natural predators, pets, and small children.

How to Get Rid of Termites in Palm Trees

Termites are a big problem when it comes to trees; they can cause severe damage, and of course, they may use your tree as an access point to your house. You must quickly save your palm as soon as you notice signs of termite activity.

The first and most crucial step is removing any affected branches, fronds, and trunks – this should be burnt or taken to a dump. Remove all mulch from the base of the tree, as this can also offer shelter to the termites.

Once this is done, there are numerous options available to you when it comes to getting rid of termites from palm trees:

  • Natural predators can be highly effective. Nematodes are very cool tiny roundworms that don’t affect people or pets but affect termites and will eat them, which can destroy a whole colony within a few months.
  • Topical treatments made up of everyday kitchen items can also work. Still, these remedies could be more effective only when directly applied to termites, as many colonies are far from reach.
  • Termiticides are very effective but should only be used as a final effort and applied by a licensed professional who will know how to reduce adverse effects and ensure the area’s safety.

Do Roaches Live in Palm Trees?

Roaches like palm trees, as the trees offer shelter outside of the house. As much as roaches may scavenge garbage bins and drains, they prefer to live in vegetation, and palm trees provide excellent soft mulch amongst their branches and at their base.

As with termites, there are a few options for pest control of roaches; however, as with most things, prevention is better than cure, so maintaining a clean and neat yard and home will immediately make your property much less attractive to cockroaches.

If, however, the roaches have already moved in, here are some options for eliminating them from your palm tree and home:

  • Roach bait is very effective as it is targeted at roaches and doesn’t lead to unnecessary exposure; granular baits are effective out of doors and should be added to bait stations to minimize risk to other animals.
  • Sprays can also be effective but must be applied directly to the roaches as they will unlikely approach sprayed areas. Due to this, sprays can prove effective as a barrier, although they will need reapplication outside when it rains.
  • Dust is also quite effective; however, this is mainly for indoor use as moisture and wind will reduce their effectiveness outdoors.
  • It is always essential to consult with a licensed pest control professional on the safest and most effective use of pesticides.

Final Thoughts

Palm trees can become home to various pests, the most obvious and least pleasant being rats, termites, and roaches. By maintaining a clean and neat yard, you may be able to deter these pests from your property; if they were already there, professional pest control can eliminate them.

About the author 

Ken Wilson

Long time career in the home services industry from remodeling to patio construction. Currently residing to in SWFL and active contributor to multiple home & garden publications.