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bugs on ficus?

Posted by sradleye (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 21, 14 at 11:31


I bought a ficus nerifolia a couple of weeks ago. It had some yellowing leaves when I got it. yellow and drop leaves has continued. today inspecting I think I may have found the problem. So small its hard to get a pic, but on the bottom of this leaf is a white dot and crusting or thick dust along the leaf (maybe zoom in on it). Even harder to see is on the tops of leaves what looks like pieces of a grain of salt. Are these bugs? significantly smaller than the mealy bugs I just dealt with. no webbing like spider mites. Thanks for any replies!

And I have already treated at least thrice with alcohol/dish soap /water spray

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: bugs on ficus?

They are mealy bugs, and they are DIFFICULT to get rid of. I would wait for someone else for seems you have used the alchohol method so popular for treating these

RE: bugs on ficus?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 21, 14 at 17:42

A white/ very light green 3 dimensional dot or bump where the petiole transitions to leaf tissue is a normal part of the anatomy of a number of species of Ficus, the purpose of which is not fully understood. It used to be referred to as a wax gland, and occurs in a high % of the plants in the Moraceae family, including mulberry. Newer literature refers to the gland as a phenolic gland, because of the heavy deposits of phenolic compounds in the glandular region. Any exudates that originate in the near vicinity of the gland are probably latex and not related to the gland itself.
Ficus often have other regularly spaced white dots inside and along leaf margins that are often misidentified as pests or glands. They are lithocysts that contain crystals of calcium carbonate or calcium oxylate called cystoliths.

If you have what looks a little like fine, light colored sawdust on leaf surfaces, it's almost certainly a mite infestation.


RE: bugs on ficus?

thank you very much for the replies guys, I do think these are some kind of mites. I got a look at them under a magnifying glass today.

RE: bugs on ficus?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 22, 14 at 11:36

A 50/50 mix of water and 70% rubbing alcohol sprayed on the plant so it covers all surfaces (especially the underside of all leaves) will keep mites in check. You can use a few drops of insecticidal soap in the mix too, which will increase the effectiveness of the mix - dish soap/detergent not recommended.


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