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Mealybugs?

Posted by valthewizard 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 9, 14 at 13:28

I recently bought an orchid from a store, because they were on sale due to winter weather.

I checked its leaves and roots before buying it. It had light green, pretty leaves and very many green roots. I bought it, took it home, and realized I'd totally missed these tiny whitish bugs on its roots.

I've seen these on my other plants, but the only plant it seems to be having an effect on is my begonia. I researched orchid pests and the closest match I could find was a mealybug, who steal liquids out of plants and basically just dehydrate and drain them.

I haven't seen any on my other orchid, the one who I've gotten to grow flower-buds, despite the fact that I've seen these bugs before around my plants, they don't seem to have taken interest in my older orchid at this time.

For the orchid that I recently bought, I let it sit in 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol, and soaked its substrate bark mulch in the alcohol too, and also wiped a cottonball of it on its leaves. After about an hour of soaking I rinsed them thoroughly and let them dry overnight.

Today, I put them back together. I didn't see any bugs. The roots were a bit dry as expected but I watered it well. As mentioned this plant has a LOT of good roots, despite the bugs.

I also took some caution and moved my visibly infected plants to a corner of my plant-desk, most of these are really hardy plants, and I haven't noticed any changes. Before doing so, I cleaned off the desk's top thoroughly with bleach-water, which I've done before; doesn't hurt plants as long as it only touches the desk. My orchids are not quarantined or anything, but neither are touching any other plants, or each other.

Do you think this will take care of the problem? At least for the orchids?
(I didn't do anything to the older orchid, as it's doing fine and budding, and I don't want anything to harm the buds.)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Mealybugs?

Sounds good! Seems like a good effort. Watch the new plant for a couple of weeks. How did you emerse the entire plant? How much alcohol did you need?


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RE: Mealybugs?

I agree with shaved monkey. You took a lot of good precautions but I'm also curious/slightly apprehensive about this immersion in alcohol.

I will caution you to keep an eye on the developing spikes. One of the first places you'll find mealy is on growing flower spikes since they prefer young, tender tissue to pierce.


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RE: Mealybugs?

Alrighty thanks. And ya I did not emerge the entire plant, though I did leave the roots in it for about an hour, and just used a cotton ball to put alcohol on the leaves of the plant. The roots are dry and kind of withered looking, but still pretty green.

Do you think I may have dried it out too much with the alcohol and then leaving it dry for so long? I watered it again today (still haven't seen any bugs!). Any tips for helping it? I've been watering it a bit more, because it looks so dry.


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RE: Mealybugs?

It does concern me, but only slightly. Dehydrating the plant stresses it, and a stressed plant is the best catalyst for worsening an infestation. However, this is a temporary stressor so is not likely to make It much worse.

Hindsight, sitting the plant in alcohol for an extended period of time might not have been the best idea. You might be better served with standard pest control measures. There are any number of sprays you can use that will help get it under control: bayer, horticultural oil, ortho, homemade alcohol sprays. To name a few.


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RE: Mealybugs?

I would never put any plant in alcohol. I don't know where you heard that was a good thing. Even wiping the leaves can cause damage if they are too wet.

I would suggest you research tried and true ways to deal with insects on plants. Soaking the plant in alcohol is not the way.

Good luck,

Jane


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RE: Mealybugs?

My older relatives use the alcohol method, and it works on my other plants.

Anyway, I had to get rid of the orchid after finding more eggs and "sticky drops" on its leaves. I couldn't risk infecting my other orchid.

On the bright side, my other orchid has bloomed partially, I attached a picture. Also, does anyone know why two of the flowers bloomed only two petals? Mom says they might have been duds. Still pretty nonetheless.

PS, I've never bloomed an orchid before. Are they supposed to be a bit green-tinted?


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RE: Mealybugs?

Good evening. Well this evening I've had time to actually sit down and spend some time enjoying reading forums because my work has already cancelled for tomorrow since we are expecting so much ice overnight. Anyways, every time my wife purchases a new orchid from a retail store, I remove the plant from the pot it arrives in and trash all the media it comes in because of bugs. Then I take the plant and first rinse it down with water. Once all the water is absorbed I then spray the roots and leaves all down with insecticidal soap. I let the soap set on the plant for a half hour or little more and then rinse the plant down with water again. I repeat the steps twice a day for three days and then repot in fresh media. That has seemed to work for me over the years. As for the green tint, usually it's mostly the phal you have that produces the color. Every plant is different since there are so many hybrids. I have a Carolina bronze meteor "Lenette" Phal that blooms a almost red color but after about a week it actually turns the orange it's suppose to be. So mabe for you the green will turn yellow or something else. Best of luck to you.


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RE: Mealybugs?

Thanks for the advice :)

Anyone know why two of the flowers have only two petals though? I'd like to know


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RE: Mealybugs?

It's just a freak mutation. Should bloom normally next time. It can happen occasionally, nothing you can do about it.


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RE: Mealybugs?

You know the two-petaled flowers in the above picture? Well, now they look like this.

My regular flowers seem fine, and i just watered it.

Is it because of the mutation?


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RE: Mealybugs?

Feed me Seymour LOL


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RE: Mealybugs?

You guys are going overboard with your attack on mealy bugs. They are farly easy to control without repotting plants etc. Mix up 1 part alcohol (any alcohol, rubbing, vodka, scotch etc) 1 part detergent soap and 8 parts water. Spray the plant with that. If it gets into the nooks and crannies it should kill the visible mealies. They of course have laid eggs so the next generation is about to emerge.

Repeat the process every 3 to 4 days about 4 times even if you don't see any more adult insrctys. This should stop the infestation. The other things that work well are Neem oil and of course the chemicals, Malathion etc if you want to go that route. In any case no matter what you use remember that you cannot kill the eggs so simply repeat the treatment a few times to get the emerging bugs.

Nick


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RE: Mealybugs?

Nick what do you mean overboard? I spray twice and I'm done


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RE: Mealybugs?

I quote:

----My older relatives use the alcohol method, and it works on my other plants.

Anyway, I had to get rid of the orchid after finding more eggs and "sticky drops" on its leaves. I couldn't risk infecting my other orchid.---

By the alcohol method is meant submerging plants in alcohol. This plus discarding plants because of the presence of eggs etc is what I meant by 'over the top'.

Nick


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RE: Mealybugs?

I heard somewhere that Phaelenopsis orchids exude a honeydew like substance in the Winter months s the presence of Mealies or Scale. Mine do the same and I find no evidence of insects (Knock on wood), so I just wipe c a moist washcloth regularly.


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RE: Mealybugs?

Orchids exude a honeydew when they are about to flower or flowering. It has nothing to do with mealies. You can stop wiping the plant.

Nick is right. Soaking a plant in alcohol?? Really....

Jane


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RE: Mealybugs?

Thank you
I just wipe with water for aesthetics and cleanliness.
I have an Aglaonema that does ditto. It gets showered regularly to get rid of honeydew.

Note to my previous post: s=without


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