Scale insects. First you see one, then two, and then the picnic's ruined. Yes, these bitches are the Knights of Byzantium of a Nature Slayer's world. I've tried washing, scrubbing, picking, and poisoning scale insects, but in the end they always win. The have a guerrilla strategy wherein they breed in mass numbers and hide in plain sight, tiny and unnoticeable. Then overnight they develop into terrifying, fully armored monstrosities.
hemiptera diaspididae: a common household pest*
Just this morning, I surrendered two precious territories to the scale invasion. Both will be missed, as both of these were ferns that moved here with me from St. Louis. This leaves only six of the old plant crew, which used to roll about thirty deep. First the scale took my last Asplenium Nidus "Osaka," which was the oldest and loveliest of all. Then they took my Nephrolepis Exaltata "Tiger," which really pissed me off.
This is your fern:
This is your fern with scale:
*image in the public domain