Return to the Orchids Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
the dreaded week...

Posted by dragon_kite z6 NYC (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 6, 10 at 14:30

So this is it, the week where I oscillate between agonizing, hoping, pessimism, wishful thinking, maybes, and what ifs.

I just sent Critter Creek lab some samples this morning and now I'm on pins and needles waiting this whole week for the results.

If the news is bad, I get a clean slate to start over. Painful but it'll be a good house-cleaning with a chance to buy new orchids without worrying whether or not I'll have the room. I can always replace beloved cultivars by buying them again....easier than a knee replacement right?

still I'm hoping they're not virused.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: the dreaded week...

If you have to replace, don't do it with stuff from Asia or chances are it will come to you already virused.


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Do you mean Asia as in the continent or do you mean Asia, the name of a company?

But here's the scary thing, if these are virused, that means the virus came from an orchid I got from Carmela's Orchids. And I know Carmela's is a big supplier of orchids in the US.

Ginnibug, it sounds like you're speaking from experience, I hope the virus did not spread through your entire collection!


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

There are 2 types of virus, the ones you know about and the ones you don't know about. I have talked to many senior growers who share with me the opinion that you either test or discard when the virus raises his ugly head but other wise let sleeping dogs lie.

If we all tested every plant in our collections, 1/5 of all orchids would be discarded.

Nick


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

I agree it is all a big beat-up. Have a look at this flower
Cym. Jean Slattery x Zumma Boyd
It is unmarked as was every flower on the raceme.
The plant has some suspicious marks on the leaves so it is not going to appear on a sales table near you.
And that is the problem especially with Cattleyas, no symptoms at all and the flowers perfect with perhaps a minor colour break that could indicate virus or perhaps maybe a cultural thing.

Then there is the Asia thing. maybe you just have to be selective as to which Asian Nurseries you wish to avoid otherwise you are missing out on some wonderful orchids. but then again it might be one of those Buy Australian, Buy American things with a sting in the tail.

I written before about the virus hysteria and how newbies have been lost to the hobby with the carry on by some experienced growers when they have spotted an infected plant on sales table, monthly benching or show display.


 o
And a bit more

It is a long time ago and my son aged 12 has benched his Cymbidium Fanfare 'St Francis' in the Junior section at an orchid Show. An orchid expert tells all and sundry that the plant is virused and if it is not removed immediately he will remove all his plants from the bench and take them home.

An AOC Judging panel are present and in their opinion the damage on the leaves is caused by past red spider mite damage.

Go forward about 16 years and a lovely lady who used to post here joins our orchid society so that she can tend the Cymbidium collection owned by her recently deceased father, a couple of years go by and she benches one of those Cymbidium plants. It is has Cymbidium Mosiac Virus. I do not spot it in time and a loud mouth who should know better tells every one in the room it has virus. Tears and valuable orchid society member lost forever.

I'm not saying that virus isn't serious, it is, but if i see a suspect plant i tell the owner that.....it is suspect or not in show or sales condition, and ask them to take it off the sales table or show bench. I do this with as little fuss as possible.

Of course you can have a virus free collection. No gifts from friends, test every plant coming in. Limit visitors. Do not buy on ebay or auctions or deceased estates and so on.

Then we get to the problem caused by the Cymbidium in the picture above. It does not have CMV but it might have something..anyway i'm not going to test a thousand + orchids for virus. I put aside any with colour breaks on the flowers with a note and if the next flowering is the faulty they are put in the bin.


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Arthur,
Thank you for sharing...a powerful email.

--Stitz--


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

I'm really glad you all posted with differing points of view. It puts things in a proper perspective. In my experience, more often than not, it's not virus. It is a lot more likely that orchids suffer from bacterial infections, bad culture, or stress than from viral infections.

I would love to keep a beloved "suspect" orchid or two, just for myself but I grow indoors for half the year and am afraid it would spread to the other orchids.

Arthur-that's awful about your son. I can't imagine anyone claiming that an orchid is virused without having done a lab test. You have a good approach there, let them know but don't make a fuss. In today's world, who needs the extra drama and trauma?

Nick- 1/5, 20% is a high number. Maybe if we all got our 'chids tested and thrown out if positive (to prevent infecting more 'chids), in the future that number could be nil. It has been 4 years since the last virus test. Unfortunately I saw signs exhibited on a Catt I got from Carmela last year, and now I regret not testing the new plant earlier because it might have prevented my older 'chids from contracting.


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Even if you do have a virused 'kid, isn't using good grooming, pruning and watering habits supposed to keep from spreading the virus? From most of what I've read and heard lately, there is a good chance we may all have a virused 'kid or two. My understanding is that if you own any of the Taiwanese or Asian phals/catts, you probably got it.

As far as I'm concerned, as if it matters :-), I don't plan on trading or entering anything for judging, so I'll just take my chances with what I have and continue practicing safe handling methods.

I saw somewhere where it was stated that the worse possible pathogen for transmitting viruses has 2 legs and a pair of unsterile scissors.

Bob


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

I have a couple of plants that I am relatively certain are infected with something. One is my oldest plant, I've had it about 13 years. It often blooms with a color break. I recently bought one of the Agdia test kits so I could finally confirm a virus and test other plants to see how prevalent the infection is in my collection. I tested that plant first thinking of it as sort of a positive control. Result-Neg. and a bloom just opened with no color break. Go figure. Negative result is good- no CymMV or ORSV, and bad-what does the plant suffer from??? Still don't know.

Meg


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Does someone have a picture of a bloom with a color break they could post? I don't have a good idea of what these look like yet.

Thanks! Ateles


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Below is a link to a picture of the color break virus. It is streaks of color running through the bloom. Once you see it, you will know what it looks like.

You could probably do an engine search and find other examples.

Brooke

Here is a link that might be useful: color break (Mosaic Virus)


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Bob, you're right. And I do practice "safe" grooming, watering, and pruning. My problem is when they are indoors, their leaves rub against each other due to crowding. Outdoors, space a plenty but indoors during the winter, window space is prime real-estate.

Meg, I'm so glad your results were negative!!! If the color break often occurs it could be cultural or it could be genetic. Especially with hybrids, color-breaks and muddied lines/spots may be what they're suppose to exhibit every now and then.


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Arthurm

Thoughtless individuals can discourage newbies in many ways. Invoking the dreaded "V" word is just one. I'm sure we have lost many potential orchid growers/society members this way.

I wonder how many we have lost because that first time buyer purchased a virused phal and then concluded that they can't grow orchids because the plant died, regardless of what they tried.

I, like you, have been growing orchids for many, many years, but I think the last 5 years are different. This virus problem is like an invisible tsunami that has hit our collections. I remember years ago visiting commercial orchid growers and seeing stud benches with row after row of robust plants and seed pods everywhere. Now I see these sickly plants with necrotic leaves, barely strong enough to support small flower spikes, let alone seed pods.

I don't know what the answer is. I know it has been very expensive to test my plants (more than 1000) and to implement procedures for screening new plants and periodic retest of the most valuable plants in my core group, to catch any previous false negatives.

I'm just glad I'm not a commercial grower. These are mostly good people and they face an impossible choice, either live in a state of denial or accept that they are doing immeasurable damage. My best commercial grower friend believes that virus tests don't work because once you treat plants with fungicide or insecticide, you can have false positives. It's sad to see an otherwise rational person creating this imaginary world that allows him to live without guilt. I never say anything to him when he says this. It would be pointless, but I do test every plant I buy from him.

Mike


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

I don't use virus tests nor do I loose any sleep over it. Recent example shows how it works for me. A Cattleya hybrid had suspicious spots on the leaf. I set the plant in the front yard, away from the rest of the collection. Finally it bloomed. The color break was there and in the garbage it went.

If I can't decide on a worth while plant, of course I'll test but usually it seems pretty obvious. I'm actually amazed how few plants are affected but then I don't buy the mass produced Asian plants.

Nick


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

d_k,

Have you heard anything back from CC?
Good news I hope!

Bob


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Nick

A couple of things come to mind as I read your post. One is that plants can be infected and show no signs, but they are still contageous. The second is that while you don't buy mass produced Asian plants, many of your suppliers likely do. Were they repotted with the ones you purchased? Were they dripping down onto the one you purchased?

I think small seedlings are fairly safe, but I suspect the odds of them being infected go up each time they are repotted at the commercial operation.

Mike


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Bob-Thanks for your concern!

I just got the results last night...the "dreaded week" extended into the "dreaded week and a half." And might I add, those extra 3 days are more taxing than the week before it. Can't blame CC though, it's holiday season.

Bad news unfortunately, out of 6, 3 are infected. One orchid was an oldie that had tested negative 4 years ago...the other 2 I had purchased from Carmela Orchids and Santa Barbara orchid estate. Both are huge sellers and big names in the orchid world. All 3 are infected with the ORSV. I don't know if it was Carmela's cattleya that infected Santa Barbara's cymbidium or the other way around. Or perhaps they were both infected even before I got them.

See the dangers of not knowing? I thought that by practicing safe repotting and dividing that was enough to prevent the spread of a possible virus. Now I know, insects can transmit viruses from one plant to another and the risk of leaves rubbing against each other, even minimally, can be deadly!

One the one hand I'm really upset because I cannot replace the older orchid; it is a NoID hybrid from 15 years ago! But it was a favorite and holds sentimental value. I'm not worried about the plants from Carmela and Santa Barabara because they are replaceable and I can always re-order (I will test diligently from now on).

On the other hand, I've learned a valuable lesson about viruses, I can always get new favorites...most importanly, I feel better knowing that the reason my Catts weren't doing well was due to the virual infection and not my care. This actually gives me more confidence in growing Catts and you can probably guess what I'll be replacing my virused orchids with.

I'm going to now test every single orchid in my collection. This test was only on the suspects. Now that I'm sure there is a virus amidst, a full-blown testing is in order. Then a proper purging (pots and media included). Then rebuilding.

I understand how some people (commercial and hobbyists) would not want to test their orchids but for me, my conscience speaks louder than all other factors affecting my decision. I grow orchids for my own pleasure, I do not show them. However, when I make divisions or backbulbs, I often trade, or I donate to the local charity for their annual auction. I cannot trade or donate plants that may be bad. It is my responsibility to make sure whatever leaves my hands is not going to harm or perhaps ruin their beloved collection.

Anyway, still trying to cope. I can rationalize all I want, the sad truth is: emotionally, I'm still depressed and drained and will have to bolster myself for the holidays.

Please learn from my mistake fellow orchidphiles. TEST TEST TEST. It's the simplest thing you can do to prevent a lot of harm and pain.


 o
ooops

Ooops, I forgot to sign:

I'm Steph(anie)...not trying to be mysterious or retain anonymity (I believe there is even a pic of me floating around this forum somewhere). I used to post here years ago and I forget that members may not remember or recognize my login name.


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Steph,

Sorry about the negative results...
Was that 15 year old orchid showing any signs of distress?

I'm an orchid hobbyist for 'fun' and when I start worrying about having to test every orchid (existing and new ones), for me it starts to lose that 'fun' feeling.

I guess my point was that considering that I don't trade or show plants, unless my plants are suffering or look like they definitely have a virus, I'm not going to be too worried. When I see a 'kid struggling or appears to be virused, they get Kev'ed :-) (old term from a few years back, you probably remember it).

FWIW: If I ever trade plants I will verify with a test, but after 8 years, I still don't trade and don't plan to. I do occassionally give an orchid away, but it is to people who don't normally grow them.

I'd bet dollars to donuts I have at least 1 or 2 virused 'kids out of the @70, but until they start to exhibit definite signs, I'm not too worried. Even then, I'll just toss 'em.

Bob


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

So sorry to hear that, Steph...I tested a 6 or 7 of mine a few summers ago and also got a 40% positivity rate (a noID catt from a street vendor, a phal from a local nursery that has taiwanese origins, and an oncindinae from a society sales table). If you don't have too many plants, I think testing everything just for a piece of mind is good. Then, it just becomes a matter of testing everything new that comes in. I ended up buying the Agdia test strips...was going to test everything, but never got around to it and they are still sitting in my fridge.

I am guilty, because most of the collection at that time has since then been sold/traded/given away...not because I maliciously wanted to pass away infected plants, but only because I didn't bother testing (the positives were destroyed). It's a major source of stress and

Everyone talks about showing plants, or getting awwards...but one interesting point that no one has brought up is rare/valuable plants...Wouldn't it really suck to have some sort of rare species or hybrid in the collection infected?


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Mike

I know what you are saying. No doubt it is possible to test every plant every few years if you have a small collection but once the numbers go up this becomes impossible. It would cost me several thousand dollars to test all of my plants. Andy's Orchids has anywhere between 1/3 to 1/2 million plants in his greenhouses. I have no personal knowledge what he does but I'm sure it is limited to bringing in only reputable supplier's plants and dealing with unhealthy looking specimens head on.

I will never pass on to others plants that I do not believe are not healthy but viruses are part of life, one has to live with them, I firmly believe that you will never eliminate them completely and permanently. I buy from reputable vendors but would never hold it against them if a virused plant does sneak in.

Nick


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

I agree that the peace of mind is important. There is no way I can afford to test all the plants in my collection; it would cost thousands of dollar. However, I try to cut the odds.

This past fall, after years of dawdling, I got a 25-pack of test kits. I started with the plants I had quarantined because of various anomalies. Of the 15 plants I started with to test, 12 were virused -- which was not unexpected. One Aranda (vanda hybrid) had CMV, and the rest were all ORSV. These plants had been quarantined because a few had some colorbreak although not eat up with it, most had distorted growth -- twisted bulbs, Siamese-twin conjoined leaves, and one which had just stopped blooming after years of dependable continuous flowering.

A few with flower problems were not virused, all the plants with distorted growth were virused, and my poor Aranda which had stopped blooming was virused.

After those, I used the rest of the kits on healthy-looking plants at random, starting with the space hogs, and found a few more which were virused but without symptoms.

A month later, I bought another set of 25 kits. Again, symptom-less plants. Found 3 more with virus. Went to finish up the pack today, and of the four I had chosen -- this time dependant on who I got them from -- and found 2 of the 4 to be virused. So that batch was 5 out of 25 -- all without symptoms.

I am expecting delivery today or tomorrow of another set of 25 kits, a gift from my insignificant other who is trying to prove he is significant.

Yes, losing some of these Cattleyas and the one Aranda broke my heart. Others, I was almost happy to say goodbye to -- I found it interesting to note how many plants I was keeping that I really wasn't all that fond of. Of the roughly 20 plants I tossed, there are 3 or 4 I would love to replace but I doubt that is possible. But the peace of mind knowing I can, as an example, safely hang this plant above that plant, etc, is a great feeling.

However, if anyone sees these around, I would love to beg, borrow or steal a piece -- well, cash works too:

Aranda Christine alba
Bc Star Ruby
Epc Utaado Beauty x (C. Gold Metal x Epi tampense)


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

So of the randomly tested plants, 35 I believe, you found at least 7 virused. I assume these are symptom less plants that cast no suspicion. That's one out of 5 or 20%. I have heard that figure, 20% tossed about as a possible percentage of virused plants in any large collection. Please correct me if I did the numbers wrong.

This confirms my attitude that I'll toss suspicious plants without testing and only test suspicious plants I really would like to keep. I have no plans to test normal behaving plants even though some of them, no doubt, are virused.

Again, the trick is to live with this and not let it overwhelm you.

Nick


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

CJ - "Others, I was almost happy to say goodbye to -- I found it interesting to note how many plants I was keeping that I really wasn't all that fond of" - so true! I think this illustrates Nick's point actually..test the ones that you want to get rid of anyway (Positive - chuck it, negative - it's tradeable!), and the ones that you really love and just want to know.


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

That's exactly what I did, Calvin, after I got done with the ones which obviously had problems. I went right for the space hogs to test first. If I have to toss an orchid, let it be one which is taking up the space of, say, five or six Angs.

Nick, the symptom-less ones were not all totally innocent; several came from sources that I considered suspect -- and as it turns out, with good reason. And they were almost all Cattleya hybrids which seem to have a greater chance of being virused than, say, an Ang or a Phrag. And I only have one hybrid Phal which I got from the breeder, rather than a bench full of Asian imports loaded with virus.

At present, before I start this next batch of testing, I do not have a single orchid out of over 500 plants that has any symptom whatsoever associated with virus. Should be interesting. I already have a partial list of ones to test next.

As orchid hobbyists, we all have to live with some orchid virus. But our choice is how much virus we are comfortable living with.


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

This whole issue makes me so uncomfortable. I know I should test and I've known it for quite a while.

Steph, welcome back, missed you. Great thread and hasn't been discussed for quite a while.

Due to a move to a smaller place, I sold most of my collection keeping the plants I wouldn't sell because they didn't appear healthy. I blame myself for neglecting them and felt with care they would recover. I only have 3 Catts in a group of approx. 30 plants.

I always have the feeling some are sick yet have not tested. I am not even terribly fond of those, but there are a few that I adore and could not be replaced.

Part of me feels I should just toss the plants I am suspicious of and be done with it. Another part needs to know.

I guess its time to 'bite the bullet.'

Steph, thanks again for sharing.

Jane


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

I hope I don't give the wrong impression. I prefer to be virus free also however accept the fact that this is not possible. As I water I continually look for signs and isolate suspicious plants. If the next flower or growth is perfect the plant gets a new lease on life.

I have a goodly number of Masdevallias and Draculas, they have the reputation to be particularly prone to rapidly spreading virus. With them I'm on special guard and do not tolerate even one aphid or mealy. I'm less vigilant with the others. So far not one had to be tested but at the slightest hint I will test them. There is a group where one should definitely be virus free. Fortunately their leaves are a give away, I don't have any suspicious ones however looked over a person's shoulder who dealt with an outbreak. He discarded more than 1/2 of his Masdies and Dracs, other cloud forest plants in the same area were not affected.

Just spent the evening at our orchid society Xmas function and had a lengthy talk with a very good grower who has about 3,000 orchids. Cymbidiums, Catts, Phaelies, Paphs etc. He got on a virus kick last year and bought 100 tests. Like you he tested suspicious plants first, most were positive. That used up his first batch. He then got 100 more and started doing random tests. That's what I drilled him on.

Results: A steady percentage of positive plants, not many, he could not give me numbers but enough where he stopped testing. Now he does not want to talk about virus, tests and eliminates any suspicious plants but has lost interest in testing the rest. If the plant grows vigorously, has healthy looking leaves and clean flowers, he is satisfied and does not care to know anything else about the plant. One year ago he wanted to test every plant, oh well, so much for that.

Nick


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Since Masdies are usually only infected with the bean yellow virus (BYMV) the do it yourself test kits do not give you any results for this virus. To confirm if the Masdie is infected you must send it to a lab and request that test.

I've never even found a picture of a Masdie with the bean yellow virus but "they" say if you see it you will recognize it. A picture or two would certainly take the guess work out of me recognizing something I've never seen.

I don't have a problem tossing anything that does test positive and also don't hesitate to toss something that doesn't grow like I think it should. Once I start questioning a plant and the thought of a possible virus I end up introducing it to Mr. Trash.

Here is an interesting short read from Critter Creek regarding virus/transmission/etc.

Brooke

Here is a link that might be useful: virus transmission


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Thanks Brooke, I have read it before but one cannot read it often enough. There is one part I really dislike but it's definitely true.

2) The longer a perennial plant has been in a green house the more likely it has picked up a virus.

In the last couple of years I may have discarded 7 plants which is actually a very low number considering. 2 of them, however, were heart breakers. There were 2 Cattleyas I have owned since the beginning (1996) which had gotten huge. One bloomed with 60 odd flowers and was the center piece at our annual banquet. Both started loosing leaves and produced poor flowers. No color break and no typical virus effect on leaves, just going downhill. These I had tested and they were positive. Trashing them was painful.

Another was the largest Cymbidium I own, and old clone living in a wine barrel. No testing necessary there, chlorophyll break in a couple of new leaves. Since the plant looks 100% otherwise and produces a beautiful crop of flowers every year I did not discard it but moved it to the front yard where it now sits next to the front door with the house between it and the other orchids.

All three have been with me for 14 years, I'm keeping a close eye on the other 'specimen plants' I have. One of our senior members, who has a collection close to 40 years old knows this very well. He had to discard some of his old favorites and has long ago adopted making divisions of his prized plants for himself for this very reason. If the 35 year old beauty gets sick he has babies to replace it. I have been meaning to do this, will place it on my 'to do' list where it will rest comfortably until the next time the subject comes up.

Nick


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Nick they are your plants and you can do whatever makes you comfortable. The problem with a virused cym sitting out front, separated by the house doesn't mean aphids, mealies, spider mites, scale or any other mobil bug won't make it to the back of your house :>)

Brooke


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

True, but the bigger problem is that there are unknown virused plants living among the rest of the collection. The only true solution is to test and retest every plant.

As you said, it comes down to your own personal comfort level.

Nick


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Good to see you're still here Jane (congrats on your 'Serendipity' blooming!). Good luck with your testing! The torture for me was the "not knowing". Now that I know, I can plan a course of action to fix things. But not knowing felt like I was in limbo.

Bob- Now that we have "Kev'ed" (thanx to Kevin), I can't find a word that encompasses all the meaning and fun behind that word. If only the non-orchid humans would adopt it.

Calvin- sorry to hear about your experience. Damn those street vendors, I will never again buy anything from them, not even hotdogs.

I'm sorry to hear about everyone's experiences! Honestly, for hobbyists, it shouldn't be this frustrating for us. It should be fun, it shoud give us peace of mind.

I do find that the bulk of the fault lies in the vendors though. They're being lazy and/or cheap. There are no excuses around it. Unlike us hobbyists, they're in the business, they should provided better quality goods. People are buying from them in good faith. Am I going to jump down a vendor's throat for selling me damaged goods? No, but I do expect them to refund or replace.

As for us hobbyists, to each his/her own. I only have 18 orchids right now so it is relatively easier for me to test all of them compared to some of you. But I do hope that testing and quarantining all new orchids from now on will mean that I'll never have to re-test all the old orchids again.

Peace of mind is very important, I know that once my orchids are all tested and I get rid of all the virused ones, I will finally have peace of mind.

Great responses all, good to hear differing views. I am definitely going to get those agdia strips for the next orchid show so that I can do immediate testing. That was a great suggestion.


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

The problem is most of my plants are crammed together to get available light. This time of the year is murder, and our new home does not have the windows we had before. All the plants are watered together, touching each other.

Even if I tested and discarded, there is no guarantee that these tests throw false negatives or plants might be virused at a low level which would not test positive at the time of the test. We can't grow plants in separate rooms, bugs travel, water splatters, etc. I check my plants for watering by sticking my finger down into the bark. I probably should carry alcohol wipes with me as I check the bark, but most times its done in haste and without thinking about it.

If you throw out every plant, how do you start fresh? How can you grow in a sterile environment. I think its impossible. Every new plant could be virused.

My plants go outdoors all summer, sit under trees and shrubs and are visited by numerous bugs and creepy-crawlers.

I agree with Nick. Visibly sick plants, which haven't responded to treatments, should probably be trashed. Suspicious plants should be tested. Its always hard to tell if a decline in a plant is due to environment or fungal/bacterial problems. There are those plants who seem to have weakened immune systems and are always getting something including bugs. The plants which are suspect in my collection are always fighting scale. Scale hasn't spread to my other orchids even though they are sitting on the same trays. These plants never look robust, yet they grow and flower.

I am not going to test my healthy plants. I don't see the point and feel comfortable with that decision. I want to enjoy my plants.

Jane


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Stephanie - dragon kite,
I wish everyone was as conscientious as you regarding virus, there'd be fewer problems.

I like collecting awarded species, particularly old cultivars, but the problem is that many that have been in cultivation for a long time have been exposed and infected. I do buy on eBay, but if it is an older plant I always ask the vendor if it has been tested (usually not!) and I ask about the return policy in case I buy their plant, test it, and it comes back positive. The response I've gotten tells me a LOT about the vendor, I've had one that did refund my $$ and tell me to discard it, I had one that blocked me from bidding simply because I asked the question, another asked me not to bid if I was concerned, didn't want the bother. Most are fairly reasonable, though.

I have tested a good percentage of my collection, the oldest ones first, then the slow-growers. I've found that leaf spots are a red herring, other things can cause them, and plants that bloomed beautifully have tested positive, you cannot tell by looking, if you wonder, go ahead and test!


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

What it really boils down to is the size of your collection. If my collection were less than 50 plants, I'd test them all and test all newcomers.

But that's not the case so a compromise solution such as Jane and I are suggesting (Others too, we have not invented sliced bread) is necessary. I had adopted that strategy many years ago and it has served me well.

Nick


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Dragon kite
Sorry to hear that they found some of your plants to be virused. I hope the ones that got a clean bill of health are ones you enjoy.

When you send them in, how many viruses do they test for? I understand what you mean about the 'not knowing'. I have used about 1/3 of my test strips and have not found a positive result yet which has me a bit surprised. I just wish it tested for more than two viruses. For those of you who have had positive results, were the hits for CymMV or ORSV? Or, did you find one of the less common viruses?

If I use up my strips without any virus found I'll let it go. That will test about half of my plants. If I get any positives I might as well get another set of strips and test the rest of the plants. Sounds like I've been lucky so far.

Meg


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Sorry to hear, Steph. Thanks everyone for the great conversation though.

Those of you who use Agdia, where do you buy those in the US?

Thanks,
Ateles


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Here:

Here is a link that might be useful: Agdia test strips


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Meg- good luck with your testing! I think it's very good news that you haven't tested positive yet. Mine were all ORSV (no CMV) but I too would like tests that tested for all viruses.

Symbie- wow, your experience with some of those vendors are eye-opening. SOme of them sound really shady....like selling goods off the truck, or on the black market. I will remember to ask vendors before auctioning or buying. I'd rather be blocked than receive a virused plant and not be able to get a refund/exchange for it.

Jane- I know you understand how difficult it is growing orchids in our zone. I've got the same problem as you wintering my orchids. Sadly, I believe it is this cramming that facilitated the virus transmitting to my other orchids. For people with more space, a 20% virus-infection can remain at 20%, but for people like me who cram orchids during the winter, that 20% eventually becomes 100%.

It's a daunting task but I'm going to try to make my collection virus-free. You know orchid growers, we love a challenge! I've already thrown away old baskets and used media. This weekend I was bleaching and baking...not for the holidays but baking the clay pots and LECA....to the disappointment of my family, I think they were expecting cake.

Another good piece of advice I got from all of you was to buy seedlings since they have less chance of infection. I used to buy the biggest size available/affordable because I want to see blooms right away. But after this great conversation, I'm learning that patience has more than virtues, it can mean virus-free!

Steph


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Not totally correct what you say about seedlings. Not all vendors import questionable plants from the orient. Kawamoto Orchids has a bunch of 'budded' Catts on Ebay. Here are some examples:

http://cgi.ebay.com/C24-Blc-Merrily-Murison-Larry-New-BUDDED-X-MAS-SALE-/290513689555?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43a3f71bd3

http://cgi.ebay.com/T11-Den-Roongkanol-Vejvarut-HolidayBUDDEDSPECIAL11of12-/290513643825?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43a3f66931

http://cgi.ebay.com/D22-Blc-Orange-Digger-Kiilani-NEW-BUDDED-X-MAS-SALE-/290513689554?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43a3f71bd2

Click on vendors's other items and you'll find a few more. I bought about 20 of them (not all the same) and they'll be used on our raffle table. When you buy a few, combined shipping makes it tolerable. Had a conversation with Reid where theses plants came from. They were cloned by Kawamoto and grew up in Hawaii. The plants are huge, healthy and ready to bloom with fat buds. They are sitting in my greenhouse right now waiting for our Jan meeting. When they bloom, people are going to rush our raffle table. I'm 100% certain they are virus free.

It pays to know who you buy them from. Someone says they got a virused plant from Carmela and one from SBOE---maybe. Occasional missteps have to be acceptable, but, unless the problem was evident right away, who knows where the virus came from. I would buy, without hesitation, from the 3 vendors mentioned above. I seriously doubt that you'd get a virused plant from them and I'm convinced that if you present evidence at the time of purchase that there is a problem, they'll replace the plant.

I really think people should not freak out about this problem, get the plants you want from people you know and then deal with it. In the long run it's a tempest in a tea pot.

Its a cool rainy day so I spent the entire morning examining my 100 odd Cymbidiums, I found one with a questionable green chlorophyllum break. I'll park it at my daughter's place and we'll see how it blooms and what the new growth looks like in the spring. That's one out of a hundred with minimal questionable evidence. It's really a problem one should be able to live with.

Nick


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Nick

I've purchased from one of the vendors you mentioned recently and 3 of 11 plants were virused, one cat and 2 ascocendas. They were good about refunding the money without returning the plants, but if I hadn't tested I wouldn't have known and my other plants would have been at risk. My plants are clean and I intend to keep it that way.

I'm trying to understand where you are coming from on this issue, and you are certainly entitled to grow your plants in any way you see fit, but I doubt you can identify virused plants just by looking at them and I do not share your point of view that this is a temptest in a teapot or that it is a problem one should be able to live with. Of course, that is just my opinion.

Mike

Mike


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Mike- You were wise to test right away, you saved your collection from possible infection. I wish I had been as diligent as you in protecting my collection, I am now heart-broken over my non-replaceable oldie favorites.

Nick- I was the one who tested positive on the orchids from SBOE and Carmela, but I did mention that I couldn't be sure which one infected the other or if they both came infected. I'm leaning more towards Carmela's because I know quite a few people who have received virused orchids from them. This is not to say that every orchid from Carmela's is virused or to boycott their products, I'm just saying: buyer beware.

I'm not trying to change the way you (or anyone else) grow orchids but as a fellow orchid hobbyist, I wouldn't want anyone to have a false sense of security when dealing with even the most respected orchid suppliers. This was an expensive lesson I learned, just wanted others to avoid my mistake.

Whether or not the advice is taken or how my experience is interpreted is entirely up to the individual, I don't judge and I don't force. I just inform with facts and let people come to their own decisions. I know what works for me, and I trust others know what works for them.

Steph


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

I thought the Carmela incident was an isolated one, but there were more? I'm taking note of what you say about them, thanks for the info. It's news for me but so it goes.

Nick


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Well this thread is turning into a real 'bummer' :-( As I said, starts to take the fun out of the 'hobby' when it becomes too serious.

I would still bet $ to donuts that anyone with more than 50 plants has a very good chance of having a virused 'kid or two, maybe even Mike.

Personally it seems a shame to throw out "nice" plants because they test bad when there is a good chance there are others that are virused that haven't yet been tested. Seems to me the only way to do it right is to test everything at once and thin the herd of the sick and then test the entire bunch again in a few months. Anything else seems a bit of wasted effort to me as you may still have bad 'kids amongst the herd after testing some and tossing a few.

So for my 70 'kids, that would be @$350 for the first testing pass and another $350 in a few months and then @$5 per plant for anything new coming into the collection. Again, I'm in it for the fun, not to kill my retirement plans.

If I have to worry about some "mandy-pandy" being concerned about "me" keeping virused plants in "my" collection, then it may be time to look for another less worrisome hobby. That said, if any more of us drop out, there ain't going to be too much left for the remaining hobbists to pick from.

Bob


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

The above represents exactly what I think is the real danger of the virus hysteria. If everyone would just relax a little, civilization as we know it will continue.

Nick


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Bob

Relax, I doubt if anyone is concerned about virus in your collection. Perhaps the choice of namby-pamby is not the best as it generally means overly sentimental. People can get that way if they take care of a particular plant for several decades.

The specifics of your case do provide a good example of the situation regarding virus testing. You have 70 plants and if you test everything twice it would cost you $700 dollars and $5 for every new plant you purchase. I think if a grower was smart about testing by tossing any problem plants before they even started and doing composite testing on plants unlikely to be infected, such as small paph seedlings, the cost would be much less. However, I do believe that the cost will still be prohibitive for many people. Also, it may also be impossible for some people to implement an effective barrier stategy. So for many growers, there is simply no choice but to take their lumps. There are many things I don't know or understand about virus infections in orchid collections. I know I can never be 100.00% confident that I have no virused plants in my collection, but I do think that 99% for CymMV and ORSV is possible. I'm pretty sure that a single infected cat with low titer levels of ORSV off by itself in the corner won't ever cause too many problems, if appropriate sanitary precautions are observed. I am less optimistic about a collection with a 20% infection rate and infected plants scattered throughout the growing area.

The problem is that most of us enjoy growing plants. We like to see improved growth as we learn to optimize the light, temperature and water for a particular plant. If the the plants are infected with virus, especially the ones that show no symtoms, we cannot rely on cause and effect observations. If we give the plant everything it needs and it still doesn't grow right, we wrongly conclude that we are not doing things correctly or that the plant is difficult to grow.

There is no need to beat a dead horse here, so this is my last post. I think most people know what the situation is and they can decide for themselves how to deal with it.

Mike


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Mike,

Thanks for the English lesson, but you obviously got my jist.

If one 'kid tests positive after being in the collection for a while, do we have to retest the entire lot again? Where does it end for a hobby grower who doesn't trade or show?

You said: "I'm pretty sure that a single infected cat with low titer levels of ORSV off by itself in the corner won't ever cause too many problems, if appropriate sanitary precautions are observed."
I say: What keeps a sucking bug from hitting that bad catt in the corner and then hitting your prized 'kids?

If you were serious, I'd think the bad Catt would hit the trash as soon as it was known virused, if not you are as guilty as Nick and I, IMO.

Bob


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Bob

OK, one last time, low titer on the hypothetical cat in the corner implies a false negative test. I was allowing for the possibility that something might sneak by. I actually do throw away all plants that test positive. Regarding insect pests, I treat them with extreme prejudice and all new plants are segregated.

If I ever do turn up a virused plant in my core group, then, yes, I would have to retest. It would also mean that my barrier strategy had failed. However, I'm coming up on 3 years now with no virus and things are looking good.

I'm not testing these plants because I have too much time and money. I lost most of my big awarded plants about three years ago to orchid viruses. They had been robust growers for years. Fortunately, I made a few stem props before they were infected.

Here is the big question: at what rate of infection does the problem go critical and most of the suseptable plants become infected. We know historically that 1 or 2 percent will be OK, if measures to prevent cross contamination are observed. But things have changed in the last 5 years. I know for a fact that it is possible to buy plants nowadays where most of the plants are contaminated. I'm pretty sure that if you fill a collection with these plants, you are in trouble. So where do you draw the line? I would guess that some genera and some individuals are more resistant than others, but I honestly don't know the answers to these questions, so I just do what I can to minimize the risks. I do know that the value of my collection far exceeds the costs of testing and that I still have fun.

Mike


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

Mike,

First: Thanks for staying civil, I thought we were heading in another direction for a time there.

I agree, but for me who doesn't show or trade, the problem is only critical when "I" think a plant is virused. I've lost all but 7 of an entire collection of 160+ plants before (it wasn't a virus, it was health and fungal) so I feel your pain there and I don't really want to deal with it again either.

The bad thing about this thread: Now I'm almost afraid to touch my 'kids without changing rubber gloves between each plant :-( If I'm not careful, the enjoyment of the hobby will be replaced with fear of problems. For exampole: Can I even move them outside this summer with all of the bugs? Sure I can, as it's a risk I'm willing to take.

As in most things: To each their own, and I currently choose to not test and just 'Kev the suspects.

Bob


 o
plus some more

This thread almost ended up with the sort of situations i talked about way up above.
There are many questions.
How many viruses affect orchids?
Which viruses from garden plants will affect orchids? Brooke mentioned Bean Virus. There must be others.
Are there different strains of virus, some more virulent than others? In the case of CMV i suspect the answer is yes.

Now in the local orchid society there are at least half a dozen growers with collections of 1000+ orchids, some with 3000 to 5000 orchids. I suspect that they all are alert but not alarmed.

In my own case with a fairly large collection of Cattleyas i have had more trouble with Boiduval Scale than virus over the years.


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

" In my own case with a fairly large collection of Cattleyas i have had more trouble with Boiduval Scale than virus over the years."

Arthur, I don't understand your post.

I presume that you are aware that Boisduval scale is a vector of orchid virus. Perhaps, you know something that I'm unaware?

--Stitz--


 o
RE: the dreaded week...

As I browse through this thread, I seem to notice that we are letting vendors off the hook a bit. Even though some have received virused orchids from a known vendor, they allow that vendor to refund (just the problem plants) and they continue to purchase from them???

Seems if we really want to stop the problem, we stop buying from vendors that sell virused orchids. Instead of me having to spend $5 to test every new plant, why not have the vendor do the test and then pass the $5 (I'm sure they will get tests for cheaper considering they may need to buy 1000's) cost on to me once he finds a non-virused plant to send? He may have to raise prices to compensate for testing and loss of stock, but if it wasn't a huge increase, I'd be willing to pay more from a known testing vendor.

It seems if we keep putting the emphasis on the end-user, the supplier gets off the hook a bit and keeps doing it until it starts to eat into profits. Of the 1000's of orchids sold by the vendors mentioned above, just how many end users tested to see if their plant was virused, I bet less than 10%? So, the vendor has sold known virused plants to a 100’s but only a couple of people who tested called them on it, they refund your $20 or so, but yet there are hundreds of others virused ones that now sit in collections. If I was a vendor and I only had to refund >10% of what is probably a 100% virused batch, jeez hard not to follow the almighty dollar on that one? But, if we turned around and never bought from that vendor again (until they cleaned up their act) and told our friends through societies and forums about the issue, things would probably change quickly. Sadly, depending on the extent of problems it may put some growers/sellers over the financial edge.

I'd be willing to take the financial hit myself if I knew the vendor would clean-up their act accordingly, but when he only has to refund less than 10% of the problem, he's doing pretty well by continuing on the road he is travelling.

Maybe there should be an accreditation about being virus free? Could be done via the AOS, but then they pretty much seem to condone or turn a blind eye to the Asian problems.

OK, I’m done rambling now.

BTW: Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Bob


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Orchids Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here