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Old 04-14-2006, 05:54 PM
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Unhappy Mealybugs out of control

Hello
I live in costa rica and have a nice orchid colection but i am having problems with mealybugs. I just can't seem to get ride of them. I have tried cleaning the plant with alcohol and a napking and the always come back. I sprayed neem and it did not stop also I have tried malathion (hate to use this chemical stuff) but it didn't stop them just control them. I think that the shell stops them from geting in contact with them. The problem is mainly in the cattleyas the C. dowiana are the worst they are flowering at this moment so It is not the best time to do anything but I am looking for ideas.
I thought of diping them in malathion but they are a lot of plants and some are to big to be dipped. (the green house is bit crowded so this cam be part of the problem) i also polinated most of them for reproduction in the small lab so I need strong plants a this mealybugs suck a lot of energy from them.
Thanks for any ideas.
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Old 04-15-2006, 11:58 AM
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If the neem oil did not eradicate the mealies, then the problem is probably that you did not reach all the mealies or their eggs. The problem with mealies is that they will live inside the gaps in bark or other open mix, and feast on the roots, so spraying won't get them all, and I am not sure that soaking the pots will work either. I once had a bush snail infestation that I finally, at my wits end, attacked by unpotting all my orchids and soaked their roots in a bath of metaldihyde liquid. All this did was transfer virus to most of my plants and did not end the bush snail problem.

I can suggest an experiment, that, if it were me, I would try. Spray the tops of the plants with any pesticide you feel is reasonably effective. Then dust all the pot tops, benches, and any where else you like with diastomaceous earth (DE) from a pool supply or home center. Be sure to wear protective breathing gear, as inhaling the dust can cause something similar to silicosis. Once the dust settles, it is safe for people and pets. DE will cause just about all bugs to die by mechanical cuts if they walk over the stuff. This will be good for snails and slugs too. The stuff should be reapplied about once a month, and is not affected very much by water, except to be washed away. I haven't seen any damage to plants yet and I have done maybe a dozen dustings so far.

If this doesn't eliminate the animals completely, I expect it would atleast prevent them from attacking the upper parts of the plants, and keep them from moving from pot to pot. Now, I haven't done this my self yet, so maybe you could report on the success of such an experiment.

If you use neem oil, you need to do it on a cool day. People in Florida have reported being unable to use neem at all because of the warm climate. I add extra shade cloth and turn down my evaporative cooler for a day when I use neem.

Cynthia, Prescott, AZ
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Old 04-15-2006, 03:41 PM
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The only luck I have had in getting rid of them is by using a systemic such as Orthene wettable powder it is absorbed by the roots , also spraying the tops with Safers to get rid of ones that are already hatched . Might not be good on plants carrying seed pods . I repete weekly for 3 weeks . I had mealies in my other green house , ended up dipping 200 plants in a wash tub of Malathion what a mess this was before Orthene was around .You might check with a greenhouse in your area too see what is available where you live . Gin
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Old 04-16-2006, 11:23 AM
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The heat might be a problem I am in Costa Rica and at this moment it is hot. I will try spreading some DE but I have seen them moving arround so much. I think I have orthene and I can try it. Thanks for the help. I think I got this from some plants I bought the were placed in the green house before I had a chance to examine them. Now I alway spray plants before they go in the green house. I also think the mealis can be in threes and plants on houses next to mine.
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Old 04-16-2006, 02:16 PM
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Well, I have been using a closed mix for the last 20 years, and mealy bugs and bush snails can not get into the mix, so it reduces two beastly problems, that of hidden and unreachable pests. I have gotten bush snails from one commercial grower in each of the two orders received from him. Of course, this doesn't bother me at all, but I can imagine the havoc it would be for others. My current mix is 3 parts small perlite, to 2 parts coursely sifted Canadian peat, and I am experimenting with tiny amounts of sand and gypsum added. This mix has the advantage of drying fairly uniformly, and of being easy to remove with a jet stream on a hose end nozzle, and easy to judge moisture by pot weight (plastic pots). Seems the orchids like it and their roots willingly enter this mix. So, if you are at your wits end, you might want to try this. Oh, it is also extremely cheap. Cynthia, Prescott, AZ
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Old 04-17-2006, 07:05 PM
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I think that the shell stops them from geting in contact with them.

are you dealing with mealie bug or scale? both are baddies. i use a tooth brush and insecticide to scrub the small spaces where both hide.
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Old 04-18-2006, 02:39 PM
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Put the DE on the pots and wash it in, especially for the pots where you have seen the problem. Mealies do move around, and they won't last long once they make contact with the DE. Cynthia
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:14 AM
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I beleave I got some mealies and also some scales. I am controling them but I can not get ride of them. The brush works but on some areas where the leaves meet the psuedobulb it is hard.
I am still looking as to where I can get DE in Costa Rica.
The other problem is time since this brush and acohol is time consuming.
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:14 AM
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i think cynthia mentioned DE is easy to get at any swimming pool supply place, follow directions and use protection.
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Old 04-22-2006, 08:43 AM
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i jet my pests of with water it works for thick leaf plants phal cats vandas and such, bulbos they dont seam to attack ,with the jet it can get right into cat joints the only other way is persevere with systemic
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Old 05-21-2006, 10:54 AM
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Hello
I have been using orthene now for three weeks. Every 8 days using 2,5 gran per litter. I also clean them with alcohol and a napkin every time I see them. Should I stop using orthene for a couple of weeks or continue until no mealies are left.
Why is it not good for plants with seeds?
Should I use malathion or colt 45 to mix it a bit.
Thank you
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Old 05-21-2006, 11:42 AM
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I have been told that orthene is systemic from the roots up, but not from the leaves down, so I would use it as a drench at the roots, especially since mealies have a habbit of living on the roots so can reinfect a plant over and over. Cynthia, Prescott, AZ
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