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Mealy bugs, scale and aphids oh my!

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Bluefirepegasus

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:sob: I came home from my vaction expecting all my babies to have grown and some to have bloomed out. And they did.....but the tragic event that followed next was my own worst nightmare!

I have mealy bugs, scale AND aphids all at once! I had left my plants in the bathtub with the door shut to create nice humidty. They were left to drain after their shower and the heat was set to as resonable temperature so they wouldn't get cold. And the insects partied!

So, I went through every leaf and every plant and crushed everything with my fingers. I try not to use spray if I don't have to. If I do need to use something in the way of insecticide what do you recommend? I tried regular handsoap to help with mealy bugs. What about scale? Insecticidal soap maybe?

Bluefirepegasus
 

rdlsreno

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That might help. You might try some systemic insecticide.

Ramon:)
 

ohio-guy

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rubbing alcohol...you can even flush the plant a little while after if you think you put on too much, but it evaporates pretty quickly
 
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goldenrose

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I haven't heard of one using regular handsoap, dishwashing soap yes & the alcohol is quick & easy.
 

Candace

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Yes, Orthene WP is what I use along with Merit in the greenhouse. Both are systemics. But for indoor growers I'd go with the small guns and see how it works. I'm all for systemics and big guns, but preferably not inside the house and around my animals and kids.
 

TheLorax

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I have mealy bugs, scale AND aphids all at once!
I'm thinking I'd come out with the big guns for that type of a triple whammy and Orthene seems to be the lesser of the evils when I've had to use it on plants. I dip plants, pot and all, into a solution of the Orthene and follow up with another soil drench in 10 days. A dip can be done in a laundry tub. I suppose she should probably put out some ant traps regardless of what she chooses to do.
 

Candace

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Dips with multiple plants is a no-no with orchids to avoid the spread of virus. I don't recommend that.
 

likespaphs

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i've never been a big fan of orthene. it's an organnphosphate and it stinks for a week or two...
plus, i don't know how effective a soil drench is when they're not in a soil. would people please weigh in?
 

Candace

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Soil/pot drench would be effective because it's a systemic. The roots of the plant would draw the chemical from the soil/medium. Systemics work great because you don't actually have to hit all of the bugs with the chemical like many of the growth inhibitors on the market, oils, etc. But, I'm with you, I don't like the smell at all and for sure wouldn't want that odor in my household. It's perfect for outdoor use if you can wrangle all the plants outside in warmer weather. And in the g.h. it's ideal.
 

NYEric

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Don't listen to these chemists. Just wipe the plants down w/ a piece of paper towel soaked w/ alcohol and repeat for a few days.
 

TheLorax

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The odor seems to dissipate quite quickly, at least for me it does. Must admit I've only had to bring out the big guns twice. Once on outdoor plants and once on indoor plants.

Never thought about the spread of a virus by using the same dipping tank. Makes sense to me so that's a really good strike against a dip. I still think I'd go with a product that is systemic with three different pests going at those plants before they do enough damage that one has to deal with secondary and tertiary bacterial or fungal infections. Some of those bugs she listed are known for transferring both bacterial and fungal infections from plant to plant.
 
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Bluefirepegasus

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I will have to try the acohol. Oh geese...can't even spell today! :)

So far everything seems to be okay but I wonder if I got them all you know? I wonder if once you have pests like that if they really ever go away. So, time for close monitoring!

Oh man....has this ever happened to anyone else?

Bluefirepegasus
 

NYEric

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I think I posted a photo of the 2007 mealie - phrag invasion. You just have to increase your vigilance and improve your maint. program. Good Luck, Eric.
 

TheLorax

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Many mealy bugs have a root feeding stage. You did not reach any mealies that would have been down in the potting medium feeding on the roots of your plants with your alcohol so although you may currently have control of the mealies, you probably don't have eradication. If you keep up with monitoring your plants and swabbing every mealy you see, sooner or later you should get them all. You can't treat what you can't see which is why systemics can be real effective in some situations.

Aphids are pretty much visible on plants throughout all phases of their life so you probably got all of those. One slight problem with aphids is that they are farmed by ants for their honeydew. I know this sounds like something from a horror flick but if you do a search on line, you will find that ants do protect their "livestock" by moving enough aphids off the host plants to safe zones so that in the event they lose their main colony of aphids they are able to recolonize the plants from their aphid stash. Best to set up some ant traps in and around your plants just in case there are any that get any bright ideas of moving aphids back to your plants after you've so carefully nailed them all with alcohol.

Regarding the scale you mentioned, I don't know that you put a dent in them if they were armored scales. Soft scale yes, hard scale doubtful. It would be a real big help if you could post photos of the scale.

Of course this has happened to others.
 
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Bluefirepegasus

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Well, I still haven't had time to master the art of posting photos up here so I can't put a pic of the scale up. I am thinking it is the soft coated kind.

Hmmm.....just as I suspected with the mealy bugs. Grrr...........:mad: I hate those pests!

And good point about the aphid/ant relationship. My orchids are in the house right now so it should be alright....but you never know. I will take precaution.

A good question for all of you that live in the south or areas with brown recluses. I have found that the recluses love to hide in my plants. They always seem to get into my orchids no matter what I do. I live in alabama so it is something I deal with constantly. Do you guys think that using a systemic or something that has a soil dip will work? These guys can hold breath for half and hour, live without food or water for a year and they don't clean themselves like other spiders do....it makes them hard to deal with. What do you think?

Bluefirepegasus
 

TheLorax

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What you described above is totally inconsistent with all that I know of recluse spider habits and we definitely have them where I garden. They are most likely to hang out in the towel you tossed on the ground or clothes in a hamper, leaf piles, or under rocks. They're nocturnal and like it dark. Incredibly, they're non-aggressive. You leave them alone and they leave you alone but they are very poisonous.

Look up images of Loxosceles reclusa. I'm thinking you have a different spider hanging out in and around your plants. Plants just don't provide the darkness they seem to gravitate toward to spin their bizarre little webs.

If you have a digital camera, you can post pictures. If I learned how, anyone can. You can get a free account at photobucket.com but there are many other sites. You upload your photo to their site then edit the size to something small so we don't kill people on dial up and post the bottom most link in your post and it magically appears.
 
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Bluefirepegasus

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Well, believe it or not it is the recluse. Backwards fiddle with the fiddle head pointing towards the abdomen, hairless legs, patternless abdomen, low riding body, large black feelers and if close enough eyes arranged in six in front of the head instead of eight eyes wrapping around the sides. My apartment I used to live in was infested. And I know what you mean...towels clothes etc. on the floor....since we were infested we have become experts at recluse proofing. Nothing is on the floors...no towels, clothes, boxes etc. Everything is put up and away. Beds are pulled away from the wall, boxes are sealed completely and put up off the floor.

Unfortunately, my entire plant collection got infested with them at my last place. I had to throw them all away.They spun their webs in the bottom holes/parts of the plants. I would hunt them with gloves on and I would see them run back into their webs on the bottom of the pots. I even had one spin a web between the bottom of the pot and the shelf it was on and the shelf was as tall as I was!

So, unfortunately, I know it is them and I know they are here. I have done lots of research on them and looked at all kinds of pictures. I am sad that they are still in my plants though. :sob:

Anyone have any ideas?

Bluefirepegasus
 

TheLorax

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Unlucky you is about all I can say. I'd probably go with a combo approach more so because I fear the bite of these spiders and they do seem to like to hang out in piles of laundry on the floor and my hands are always grabbing laundry. I might be inclined to leave them be in a greenhouse depending on their numbers but not if they were hanging out in and around the plants I work with. No way- I'd go and nuke them.

Sticky traps are what we set down. I went online and found this group that is probably about as good as any-
http://www.critterridders.com/spiders_traps.htm

I must admit we hired professional exterminators when I found one in the house. I was sort of thinking they would be like cockroaches and where there was one there were one hundred and I didn't want to deal with it. I don't recall which product was used for the perimeter of the house or for the inside but I let them know loud and clear I had kids and pets here. I found this which might be of interest to you... I know it would be if I was constantly finding brown recluses anywhere in my home-
http://www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/pi/pick-cynoffwp.htm
This looks good too but warning ***graphic photos***-
http://www.e-bug.net/pests/spiders.shtml

This site included some tips on keeping them at bay which included moving any woodpiles you may have away from your home. We moved our woodpile far away from our home.
http://www.utextension.utk.edu/publications/pbfiles/pb1191.pdf

So far all I am finding on my glue traps are wolf spiders and an occasional daddy long legs. Well, other insects too but no recluses. I haven't seen another one in my home in years so evidently the combo approach does work.
 

NYEric

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1. recluses would eat your pests.
2. I don't believe you have a gigantic collection if you put it in your bathroom while you were away. If so then repeating the alcohol rub should suffice.
3. There's nothing more satisfying then killing the scale by squishing them on the paper towel soaked in alcohol. :evil:
 

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