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Old 09-28-2013, 05:08 PM
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HELP - something is eating my orchids

I definitely have a pest problem with my orchids. I used the magnifying glass and the bugs are white and have a slight orange color. So I assume I have mites or thrips? Some of the leaves have turned yellow and others look spotted and brown. Can anyone identify my problems? I took a white cloth and wiped the leaf and no red residue so I don't know if they are mites or not? What do I spray? Will Dawn dish soap work and how much to a gallon of water?
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:49 PM
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I don't know what the problem is, but thank you for posting as we all can learn from your experience.

I have Phals and I am thinking this is the natural process of Phals lowest leaf dropping.
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Old 09-28-2013, 09:52 PM
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Sounds like multiple things going on.

First, the critters. If elongated, about 1 millimeter long (less that 1/16 inch), either with or without wings, they are probably thrips. Color is variable, but can be white or pale orange. Thrips are insects (have 6 legs). Spider mites are orange to red, also very small; they are arachnids (like spiders), therefore 8 legs and no wings. You can try soaps etc. for controlling either one. For serious infestations, I suggest the Bayer 3-in-1 product (discussed extensively on the forum).

The last picture looks like a bacterial infection. Possibly Pseudomonas or Erwinia? The excellent overview of Orchid Diseases by the St. Augustine Orchid Society gives advice on treatment. When doing any cutting, use a flame-sterilized blade, sterilize between cuts. The second photo may be a similar problem (a bit fuzzy; sorry I can't be sure).

The first photo could very well be normal leaf abscission as vivienne suggested.
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:12 PM
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It's not easy to tell, but you have definitely something sucking up, it shows in pic #2. There's little lighter zones on the leaf. If there's a tiny black spot in the middle of each: thrips. Thrips themselves are tiny winged insects with a long body.

Spidermites will make webs difficult to see and the leaf will have silvery zones. They look like the acarians they are.

Now you have other issues. it's difficult to tell for #1, as nothing looks more like a dying phal leaf than a dying phal leaf. The cause is not visible. It mays be your pests.

#2 it looks like fungi on top of the suckers.
#3 Here it's bacterial and/or fungus. It looks really bad.

Anyway, you have pests around… That's to treat first, they contaminate plants.
And the sick leaves (with more than just sucking signs) must be removed with a sterile tool.

Once it's done, you can see for the sicknesses, 2-3 days after treating for the thrips or spidermites, go for the rest.

If you have not already look the Sue Bottom's pdf, you should, along with the pics on STAUG website. I think that asking Sue's advice (link on the page) would be good, my guesses are first impressions, but I don't like them at all and I may be wrong. Sue may be able to direct you more precisely.
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