Mealy Bugs!

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Jun 16, 2020
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Mealy Bugs! Oh, the inhumanity of it. The bane of Horticulturists both pro and wannabes. Folks cringe at the word. The mere mention causes cold sweats and angst. Well, maybe not all them but certainly me. Guess what? They’re back! I’m getting ahead of myself. Two years ago my entire collection was hit, when all was said and done I got rid of them. Or so I thought. Only one plant survived that eradication. It took me almost a year and a half to work up enough guts to get back. But at least I learned a hard lesson. Quarantine! any new plants before putting them in with the general population. I knew where that infestation came from. My wife brought home a gorgeous plant from the grocery store that was on sale of all things! I checked it over, looks good, it went in with the other plants. Well you know what happened. Not only on was that plant on sale but it came with a bonus hidden surprise. Except not in a good way.
Fast forward to the current infestation. I built this collection slowly. Making sure I quarantined all new additions regardless of whether they came from a reputable grower of not. No problems at all for a year or so. I was proud of myself I learned my lesson. Then as inevitably happens they needed repotting. I repotted all but one which was still in full bloom, so I figured I’d wait. I got a special blend of potting soil from a dealer because I liked the mix and it was ready to go. Everything went well and it’s been several months since the repot. Yes the other is still in bloom. I was checking out the plants new growth and the health of the plants just to assure myself that I did not commit orchidacide. Is that a word? If not it should be I suspect I’m not alone in being guilty of it. Everything was looking good, wait what? What are those little white spots? And why do some of them have antenna? Aaargh! Yes they’re back. First thing I did was get the alcohol and a Q-tip and go over every leaf top and bottom. Found even more and lots of webs, great, spider-mites and mealy bugs. Oh my! I knew that little dog would come back to bite me. After that I check out my other plants. Great, yep, just like Underdog they’re everywhere. Do these bugs have teleport powers? They don’t seem to move much but boy do they get around. So next phase was hitting them all with insecticidal soap. I prefer to go conventional before I go nuclear. So far the situation looks promising. I have some Naturalyte Insect Control that I bought from FirstRay to combat ants. I live in the woods with sandy soil, so spring time, ant time. It worked great on the ants, one and done. So next time I water I’m hitting the soil with them. My suspicion is the potting medium had eggs in it that eventually hatched. Don’t know for sure but the un-repotted orchid is fine. So if you have read this far you might want to go check your plants. I think these bugs have figured out Quantum Mechanics and can move around interdimensionaly. So like Schrödinger's cat just by reading this you are messing with reality. Good luck.
If you put alcohol on them you can actually see them run away. I don't play Iafter I use the alcohol and q-tip, I spray any source and the surrounding plants with my mix of water/alcohol/soap/Neem oil/Merit 75. Since I'm using oil on the leaves I pre and post mist. Good luck.
Hello, I am surprised (understatement) so many growers routinely use the most dangerous chemicals on their orchids when you can eradicate all pests for good with the Australian labybird called Cryptolaemus montrouzieri (available in Europe at least, the US I don't know). Some years ago, they solved a terrible scale infestation in our garden in 48 hours and that was that.
hey all,
Time for an update. After the alcohol wipe, I sprayed with insecticidal soap and hit the soil with Naturalyte Insect Control. It's been almost 3 weeks and no sign of either mealies or spider mites. I still need to be vigilant but I may have won this round without collateral damage.

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