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Old 03-23-2008, 08:03 PM
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Help identifying insect

Hi all,

I'm new to these forums and have been caring for orchids for a few years. I recently noticed a certain white-colored insect on many of my orchid plants.

I've attached a picture of what the insect looks like. Could anyone please help me identify this insect and give any suggestions about how to treat my orchids to get rid of these pests?

Many thanks!

img_0780.jpg

Last edited by level; 03-23-2008 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 03-23-2008, 08:36 PM
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Yuck!! Those look like mealy bugs. Physically wipe them off the plant using a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. Repeat every 5-7 days until you're sure you got the little buggers.

If you have a really bad infestation, you might want to spray with an insecticidal soap,too.
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Old 03-23-2008, 09:03 PM
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Yup they're mealies. Fortunately these are one of the easier bugs to get rid of. They're soft bodied so have little defense against sprays. I use insecticidal soap applied according to the directions, something like once or twice a week until all evidence of infestation is gone for something like 2-3 weeks.
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Old 03-23-2008, 09:52 PM
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Yes, they're mealies. My experience with them has been that if you see one, there are a bunch more hiding, and probably some on other plants as well.

With that many, check the flowers carefully, including inside the lip and between petals for them. Also look closely at the place where the leaf attaches to the stem, and if you can, at undeveloped nodes on any spike.

These make wonderful hiding places and I have found mealies all those places, even when it looked like there were only one or two on the plant. Whenever they keep reappearing over a long period, be sure they have a secret hiding place you haven't found yet.

To get the ones lodged between leaf and stem I make sure to shoot enough insecticidal soap in there to seep down. The ones in the undeveloped spike nodes-- short of cutting open the nodes I don't know how to get those.

On flowers, wash them off with a drop of dishwashing liquid on a Q-tip.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:07 PM
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Soak the pot in water up to the rim for about half an hour to get them to come to the surface, 'cos they can't breathe underwater.

Then apply the soap as per Kevin's instructions.

This way you'll get rid of the adults so they don't reproduce any more, and then you'll only have to contend with the eggs. Usually the soap gets rid of them.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:29 PM
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Old 03-23-2008, 11:29 PM
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The best way to get rid of them is to soak the pot like Anton suggests and then use Brookn's recipe. You can spray it all over the plant and the bugs will drop dead in their tracks. You can make a bowl of it and dip pot and all and the bugs will scamper out of the pot and die in the water. It's crude, yet fun to watch at the same time!
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Old 03-23-2008, 11:46 PM
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Geez those are big nasty suckers! Good luck getting rid of them, you've gotten good advice.
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Old 03-24-2008, 02:15 AM
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Thanks a lot guys for the quick responses. I'll give your suggestions a try and see how it goes.

Thanks again!
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:41 PM
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I personally would prefer a systemic like Bayer Advanced Rose & Flower ready mix, or anything else with imidacloprid. The Rose & Flower, Tree & Shrub, Lawn & Grub (not sure of actual title), and Three in One (includes mites) by Bayer Advanced are orchid friendly. Look for imidacloprid on the lable.

Most here have heard my woes about using neem oil (DON'T USE ON ORCHIDS). But while discussing my woes with our last speaker (Dr. Ron McHatton) at the Desert Valley Orchid Society, I was assured that similar damage could be done with the various insecticidal soap sprays. For those of you that use insecticidal soaps, maybe you could keep an eye open for signs of stress. It took me almost 5 years to finally home in on neem oil as the root source of my problems, just because the problem generally was severe stress. Stress is not something that immediately manifests itself, but shows up as multiple variations of disease where it depends on the pathogens present.

I am very happy to report a major turn around in my collection now that I have stayed away from neem for about 3 to 9 months depending on the type of plants. I am seeing MUCH better roots this year during the repot. I realize now that one form the stress takes is the failure to bloom. Plants that were perfectly capable of blooming, known from past history, plus expectations from recent mature size, just simply produced blind grows, or even slightly smaller growths for no reasonable reason. Next spring, I am expecting such a bumper crop of blooms, I won't be able to get them all to the various orchid societies ( we should all have such problems).
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