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Old 09-19-2011, 10:56 PM
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The weak of heart may not want to look......

I didn't want to admit to my situation, but as a learning experience that MAY help others eventually (or not) here goes...........
A year ago I was flying high with all my 70 or so phals doing wonderfully, and most of my other genera doing fairly well too. My general plant sense was that of "I've got this figured out"....... My main concern was that I had too many phals that were getting too big. Not enough room for them all. Many hybrid phals are significant space hogs. I was growing resentment for a number of early noid specimens that were taking up precious space and wondering "how can I get rid of these?" Nearly every one represented some place or activity or event that I didn't want to part with, even though I'd rather have another smaller plant of non-noid stature in its place!

During the winter there were a number of issues that caused me to use various things on my plants off and on (one is mealy bugs - which I keep thinking are gone, but crop up again. I believe that ants bring them in!?).

1) New fertilizer that was reported by a local society member to be MSU orchid fertilizer. (interesting in that it apparently was made up special for him and came in a 30# bag, from which I got 8# of it.
2) Combo insecticide given to me by a friend in gallon milk jug of Iminocloprid + enstar - made up and ready to use.
3) Bayer Rose & Flower Insecticide
4) Physan 20
5) KLN
6) We've had some issues with our city water - for awhile it left a terrible residue on appliances and such and they may have added something to the supply to reduce this?

Any way.....
Leaves started turning yellow on my phals - middle leaves, leaves in any order. Sometimes they turn yellow like typical yearly die-off and sometimes they exhibit strange blotchy pathological disease looking areas of gray, black, brown. All the leaves eventually fall off with just the crown left and one immature leaf, which eventually also shrivels and dies.

I thought it was because I didn't have good enough air circulation and upped the air including in and out of the room. This summer they have been moved to a larger area with pretty good air - to no avail.

Phals of all ages and sizes are dropping like flies.......
I keep thinking since I've been using/spraying nothing the whole summer that this issue will eventually turn itself around - but they seem to be continuing to go downhill. Maybe I have one giant orchid eating fungus that is trying to wipe me out?

Now I'm wondering, as plants of other genera (catts, oncidiums, zygo, dends) that are also loosing leaves - they don't turn yellow like the phal leaves, but brown and/or brownish/black might also be affected? So far my paphs don't seem to be visibly affected.

I've lately become suspicious of mites - but cannot find any - admittedly my eyes are not too good any more, but I know how to find them I think - brush off surfaces onto white paper and look for movement. Even looked with magnifying glass and have not found any.

Here is a picture of one of my phal leaves taken today - beware this is NOT pretty......................Anyone have any ideas????? Recommendations?????

Last edited by mayres; 09-20-2011 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:13 PM
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Oh Mike, how sad.....I am so sorry....I was wondering why you are not posting as often as you use to.....It would turn me off too.....

I am sorry, I don't think I know what this is, but did you check any of your plants for a virus?
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:29 PM
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I like to call them cycle . There are time where all 2000 ( lost track after it cross the thousand mark )of my orchid protest and drop leave . Then I started the regular regiment they still drop leave . They later out of no reason spring back . Hopefully not menopause sysptom .
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:31 PM
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I know very well the feeling of needing to clean out the collection. I just gave away a second batch of phals, oncidiums and a few unwanted odds and ends to fit everyone inside. It was very hard because I do get attached to them all and now, any new ones will be miniatures so this never happens again. Could your tap water now be softened with salt? I cannot use my tap water on my plants for this reason. The salt builds up and, well, the heat of summer may not have helped. Just an idea. Hopefully others can help you.
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:36 AM
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Hi Mike. a tragethy and major heart breaker!
I think time to go to the experts, above what us geeks help can offer!
Mearly bugs are a newence and difficult to git rid of, they lay eggs in the mix and only a deadly pesticed can get rid of them, continue us of Iminocloprid can lead to them becomeing imune to it.

spidermites and their friends I keep under controll pretty well with a spray of eco oil, fantastic product when use regualry and no toxice to us and the plants.

Damage to leaves and them falling off.
My guess it would have lot to do with warmth, as from my experience (limited) this is the major cause of leaf drop and spotting problems in Phalls.
My temp is set at a mimium of about 64 F in winter and I try to nearly dry all the plants out before watering and then pick a nice warm sunny day were the greenhouse Temp gets up around 80+F.
Otherwise they wait another day.

If I could I would run my mimium temp in winter never below 68F. This in my experience would be a comfitable tempature to keep the plants happy, after all they are virtually tropical orchids.
best of luck, keep us all updated on what caused the problem so we can learn and avoid the same issue.

With some of the thinks like the above items you recently used, check if any of the products are photo toxic to the plants.

Good air circulation even in winter help dry the leaves etc after watering and keep fungal problems to a mimium.

I hope you can work out the problems and get back to good growing as this can be heartbreaking.
Suggest you look at all the basic issues to help solve this problem!
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Last edited by Ron; 09-20-2011 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:05 AM
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Man...I wish I knew what to tell you. I have no idea what could be going on with your chids. I feel your pain though. When your collection is suffering it is very upsetting and hard to talk to others about.

If you want to talk to the guy the AOS pointed in my direction to help me out just PM me. I found his help has given me the kick in the pants I needed to keep fighting my orchid mess. My fellow geeks have been wonderful too.

I would also consider sacrificing one of the afflicted plants to send off for testing. One that has healthy and unhealthy foliage. Contact the AOS and ask them who is near your area that they would recommend you send to (unless you already know of a place). Knowing exactly what your dealing with is a major part of the battle. We are all here for you. I know this is REALLY awful for you and hope we can figure this problem out soon.

Good luck and feel free to PM me anytime.

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Old 09-20-2011, 04:25 AM
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:54 AM
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Sorry to hear this, but very interested in the answers as I have been having a few issues as well that somewhat resemble yours.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:48 AM
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Mike, I feel your pain. I had something very similar to this happen to me a couple years ago. I used a home remedy to get rid of slugs, and ended up loosing about 90% of my Vandaceous collection, which had taken me years to build up.

What it looked like was the home remedy removed the waxy protective coating on the leaves, leaving them open to any attack from everything. Funny enough though, it didn't touch the Catts, Ctsms, Gongoras etc - only the Vandaceous ones.

Good luck though, and hopefully you will find the answer quickly enough to save them.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:23 AM
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Hey Mike, don't feel like the lone stranger Some of my phals are doing the same thing. I've treated for spider mites and sprayed with a fungicide. I think the next time I treat am gonna try Physan 20. Other than that
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:30 AM
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The picture you posted looks almost exactly like the leaves of one of Phals that was/is infested with Phalaenopsis mites. I have the luxury of owning a stereo microscope which made diagnosis somewhat easier, but any magnification of 20x or more should reveal any nasty insects may be present.

I am still working on trying to eliminate them, so far I have used Bayer's 7-in-1 miticide, Safer's End-All II, my next attempt will be SucraShield. I am also considering buying some predator mites if pesticide does not completely control them (this will be a last resort because they are so expensive and I have to wait until the pesticides wear off).
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:30 PM
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I'm not sure what is causing it, but here's a link to a great website about pests and diseases.

Orchid Pests, Orchid Diseases
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:32 PM
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Thanks for the words of empathy everyone. It is indeed disheartening to slowly watch your collection of plants that you thought you knew how to take care of - over a period of many months - slowly dying off one by one - with all the memories and cost involved....bummers........
I tried some safer's insecticidal soap this morning that supposedly would help with mites "if" any are involved. If they are not there - can't hurt (?).
Every week/month I keep hoping the "corner" will be reached and things will start looking up - actually had great hope that moving the plants to another room and the summer's warmth - would do the trick.........alas................not yet............................
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:33 PM
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Mites like to hide on the underside of the leaves. Swipe a damp cotton ball on the underside and check the cotton for tiny specks. Remember, mites are not insects so an insecticide will not work. You need a miticide.

Other than that, it's difficult to say what's happening to your leaves. Bummer.
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hera View Post
I'm not sure what is causing it, but here's a link to a great website about pests and diseases.

Orchid Pests, Orchid Diseases
What a great site! I have it bookmarked now. Thank you, Hera!
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:17 PM
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I have a regimen of insecticides that I use when I notice a breakout of the little nasties. Malthion, Bayer Rose and Flower spray, Ortho Rose Pride Insect Killer and Garden Safe Fungicide3. I rotate through with an application of one of them about once a week until I see improvement. I believe in pulling out the big guns because I have too much invested in the plants. Acetamiprid and Imacolprid are good miticides but rotate so the don't become immune. I think your damage looks like mites because of how widespread it is on the leaf. You may have secondary bacterial damage as well. Hope you get a handle on this. I know you have some really nice plants.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:25 PM
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I agree that you are dealing with Phalaenopsis Mites. Phal. mites work on the upper surface of the leaf in my experience, are orange in color, and do not spin webs.

I have just found some on a couple of my phals, and will be treating them aggressively with Safer Houseplant Insect Killer (aerosol) which contains Pyrethrins, which is effective for mites and has worked very well for me in the past. The plants need to be treated at least three times, 7 - 10 days apart, to be sure to kill any hatchlings. Let the insecticide/miticide soak into the potting medium as well as covering every surface of the leaves and stem.

Your photo shows a very advanced case, and you will need to treat that plant and everything showing those symptoms, and all the plants in the area. The mites do move around, so I suggest a cleaning of the growing area as well. Best of luck,

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Old 09-20-2011, 08:26 PM
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Aww, Mike I am so sorry to hear this. I hope you get your problem under control very soon.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:45 PM
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Oh no, I've never seen anything like this before. So sorry to hear about it. The small leaf pitting looks like damage from mites...the larger lesions look like some sort of chemical burn? I'm stumped too...
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:39 PM
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Do you guys think Bayer Insect, Disease, & Mite Control would be safe to use on my orchids? 3-In-1 Insect, Disease & Mite Control | Bayer Advanced
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:45 PM
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Mike- the damage looks consistent with damage that I've had on a few plants. I have sprayed down and swabbed my affected plants with 70% isopropyl alcohol, and was diligent with doing it once a week for at least a few weeks. The affected plants are now growing new leaf tissue, and there is no further damage. I hope this has gotten rid of the issue. I also was told my a local grower to hold the entire plant under water as hot as I could stand for at least a few minutes. That the hot water would kill the mites, but shouldn't harm leaf tissue. I have done this with only a couple of mature plants, and haven't had a problem with any tissue damage due to hot water. I will continue to watch them to see if this has indeed gotten rid of the problem.
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:25 AM
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i also had a (small) run-in with phalaenopsis mites, and i have managed to get rid of mine with a couple applications of a 3-in-1 with sulfur and pyrethrins. the particular brand i'm using right now is Ortho Elementals, but i had a bottle of some other brand previously that worked just as well.

the telltale sign to me in your pics, mayres, is the pitting and "tunnels" that the bugs excavate. the ones that darn near killed my Phal. violacea mined out very distinctive tunnels on the top surfaces of the leaves that appeared silver on a green background. once they'd excavated so much of the leaf, the leaf would dry out/shrivel, die and drop. my plant was a small seedling, so this occurred on a much smaller scale, but i imagine if it were blown up in size to a mature plant like yours, the damage would look much the same.

as phalaephila mentioned, phal mites are orange. bright orange. i could see them on my Phal. violacea when the infestation got bad. get a magnifying glass and look really hard for itty bitty tiny orange critters. or try the damp cotton ball trick also. they'll leave red/orange streaks when smushed. or, con a local kid/teenager/somebody with really good eyes to come over and take a look for you. sometimes they just look like orange dust on your leaves.
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:55 AM
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Thanks for the tips all! Though I have not been able to see any individual mites (gee I hate getting old! I remember when I used to think it was "funny" when I was a kid and heard my dad note that he couldn't read the dates on coins!).
Tangers - interesting you should noted "orange" - when I swabbed with isopropyl alcohol for a few mealies I actually came up with a q-tip that was orange/brown tinted! Sounds like maybe you are on to something? Wish I could see the little buggers, though I'd rather not be able to EVER see them (if you catch my drift)!

Last edited by mayres; 09-21-2011 at 10:56 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayres View Post
Thanks for the tips all! Though I have not been able to see any individual mites (gee I hate getting old! I remember when I used to think it was "funny" when I was a kid and heard my dad note that he couldn't read the dates on coins!).
Tangers - interesting you should noted "orange" - when I swabbed with isopropyl alcohol for a few mealies I actually came up with a q-tip that was orange/brown tinted! Sounds like maybe you are on to something? Wish I could see the little buggers, though I'd rather not be able to EVER see them (if you catch my drift)!
That sounds like that is exactly what you have going on Mike. I would start treating the plants immediately. I do not know 100% if I got rid of ALL of them that were on the affected plants, but I do know that there is no additional damage to new leaf tissue, so I ASSume that I got rid of them on said plants. Again, I have use isopropyl alcohol, spraying the plant all over, in the pot, etc, and then swabbing as well. I have held a few plants under pretty hot water as suggested by a local grower, and I have also used Bayer.
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:39 PM
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I'd still like to know if anyone thinks the Bayer product I listed above would be OK with orchids as I have a good sized group of non-phal plants outdoors that I'd like to spray several times BEFORE I bring them in for the winter soon.......??????? If no one knows or responds to this thread I may post another thread with this in the header and see if I get any response.
THANKS!
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:00 PM
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Mike, ya' got mites and mites are bad dudes. Look at the label of the Bayer product you mentioned. It says "Controls Mites". That's not good news. It means it will kill adult mites to some extent, but it will not do anything for the other life stages. I can't quite read the label, but I'm pretty sure it contains cyfluthrin which is a insecticide with some mite activity and I emphasize some. Mites are arachnids, not insects.

Go to rosemania.com and read about miticides. They are not cheap...sorry..but work on the mites. Rosemania gives good recommendations. I can vouch for Floramite. It works great. Take a stiff drink before looking at the cost, but that's what it takes to deal with mites, especially as bad as you seem to have them. You won't succeed without biting the bullet.
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:59 PM
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Hi Mike,
I would consult with a university agriculture department extension service. They can usually examine a sample plant for you and give you a definite diagnosis. I took the liberty of looking up one department in Oregon for you. Here's a link:OSU Extension Service | Oregon's Land Grant University

best of luck!
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Old 09-21-2011, 04:34 PM
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My........
This is just getting deeper and deeper.........my oh my.............

Another response from a local on my question posed earlier.

"There are several home growers in the Portland Orchid Society that have recommended the Bayer 3 in 1 products for home growing. I think they are great products. I would use them several time to make sure the little beauties are done in. I would do a 3 week drench starting with the first week drench with the Bayer 3 in 1. The second week I would drench with a combo of Sevin and a methaldehyde liquid like slugfest. ( one cup Sevin and one cup slugfest to 3 gallons of water feed through a Hozon. The 3rd week with the Bayer 3 in 1. This would give you long term control or irradiation of the mealies which are hard to get rid of without the drench applications as they are in the pots at the root level! Hope this is helpful. The Sevin/Slugfest spray will kill everything in the pots like fungus gnats and slugs/snails!"
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Old 09-21-2011, 05:08 PM
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I used the Bayer Advanced Insect, Disease and Miticide over a week ago on my cattleyas and they're fine.
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Old 09-22-2011, 01:16 AM
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Thdaoub - I hate to admit it........about a third of my phals are no longer, half are in sad shape, and a very few of the newer ones are visually OK. So sad........... A couple sent up basal keikis to try and survive. A few that had keikis on spikes - the keikis died first........ Takes a lot of resolve to keep going...........
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:41 AM
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Wow Mike I'm s sorry to hear this
You've got a lot of work to do not only treat your plants but the grow area as well. Maybe even repotting to rid larvae eggs etc that have gotten in the media but get the adults under control so they don't make more.
I feel your pain. But mine was aphids on 3 pans of flask babies lost quite a few of my paphs (babies) almost 7 flasks I didn't catch them on the lower shelf closest to the window and they were hiding on the underside of the leaves. I had to treat everyone and isolate the pans that I found even one on and treat they got the yellow blotchy marks some the leaves turned yellow blotchy then black mushy and eventually died. But I got them through what's left of those 3 pans haven't seen any more on them or any others treated with seedling dose physan 20 after doses of brookins recipe gentile enough for the babies to zap the aphids until the life cycles were all gone.
I now have a spark of hope new growths no yellow blotchy. Any that do continue to get it get dumped and are still isolated to this day may be forever lol those are always tended to last and closly inspected but most have turned around that are left of those batches. That was a big chunk of investment gone and where from my first flasks from last year in the lower light area on lower shelf of one of my shelves. I can only imagine a whole collection getting this or in your case losing all your phals I have been very dilligent in bug inspecting even though I grow indoors don't know how they got in
Hopefully you can get yours to turn around also.
Good luck my friend!! I just wish I had more phals in my collection for you rather than paphs, the phals just aren't as available as Paphs are this past year....
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:08 AM
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Have you looked into something like azamax? I have had great sucess with it. It is an antifeedant, and prevents the devil's spawn from maturing sexually, so they can't reproduce. I mix with a sticker, personally I like cocowet...and drench the plant from bottom to top, top to bottom, then the medium in the pot. I do it every 3 days early in the morning. After 4 applications, I go to weekly, then every 2 weeks, after a month.
Long drawn out process, but, it has eliminated the problem. I still spray monthly.
I read an article, a while back, about mixing the azamax and sticker with a pyrethrin, that has had success, can't remember the publication, but filed the combo in my memory bank, for future reference.
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:09 AM
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mayres is a glorious beacon of lightmayres is a glorious beacon of lightmayres is a glorious beacon of lightmayres is a glorious beacon of lightmayres is a glorious beacon of lightmayres is a glorious beacon of light
Emmaye - sorry to hear you also had a battle. I'm getting ready for a war come Sunday. I'm working six days a week currently and only have the chance to tackle them then. One of my problems is I waited WAY WAY too long to properly address this problem. I have NOT practiced what I preach - which is, "inspect your plants and stay in touch with them - to nip pest issues in the bud". Part of my problem was not realizing what the problem actually was until it was WAY out of control. Except for spraying about a dozen small mounted plants I tend to semi-ignore most of my plants except during my weekly (for the most part) watering schedule.
11Orchid126 - thanks for the good report - makes me feel better to know someone has already successfully used this product before I try it - I'll look at some of the other ideas noted hear later........
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:13 AM
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Very useful thread.. Thanks..
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:15 AM
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Mike when I read your opening post I just said "Wow". I'd been feeling bullet proof also. Then like a bad dream I noticed evidence of a bacteria infection on many of my Phals. I've just spent the past several days (more days to come) soaking and repotting all my phals.

My approach to deal with the vector agent (probably mites)that started the problem, and the subsequent infection, is to mix a 1 part laundry bleach to 4 parts water and soak the entire plant. Then using a sterile knife to cut out each of the infected areas, followed with a repot. Oh byw I found some mealy bugs in one of the pots.

Now some of my favorite Phals look like Swiss cheese.

I think that the most troubling part of my problem is the time I waited until I acted. The knowledge of what the outcome of treating the problem would look like allowed me to live with the hope that things would get better on their own.
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:36 AM
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Mike, I'm really sorry to hear about your problems. I'm by no means an expert (basically, I'm barely past the rookie stage), so take this with a huge lump of salt, but have you thought about the possibility of mites being a symptom of something else?

I say this because I tried your coir mix about a year ago and had spectacular results for a while. Then everything went downhill. When I looked at my phals' roots I discovered that, well, they didn't have many left.

I've since repotted them in one of two media: large coco husks, or small coco husks mixed with hydroton, charcoal, and a small amout of sphagnum peat moss. Some died, but many have recovered and are sending out lots of new roots and leaves (even a few spikes).

Now, it may be that my situation or watering habits are different from yours and that your medium has nothing to do with your issues. I just thought I'd throw out one additional possibility for you to consider.
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:54 PM
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Algyros - any media that is extremely water retentive should be used with caution - this goes for (among others) - sphag, coir (and coir mixes) and peat. There are growers around the world that have used these and others long term with wonderful results - others have found all three to be terrible. "IF" you learn how to not over-water I've found the coir blends to be fabulous. Since I used it for 3-4 years with nothing but great success I don't think this had anything to do with it. Another issue that could be a problem for especially first time users is the QUALITY of coir. They are DEFINATELY not all created equal. Both in terms of residual salt content and fiber(ous) content.
Funny you should mention this though - in the middle of my episode I switched over all my phals to coco cubes/nuggets since a few folks on this forum have expressed their success with this media and phals. My plants continued to go down the tubes over the next 5-6 months with both leaf and root deterioration. I did soak most of the salt out of the media ahead of time too.
For whatever reason I've now decided that this media is not for me and have turned yet another direction with my remaining phal collection - which is just a shadow of its former self. Now I'm trying 100% orchiata bark - mainly because I have a distributor that lives by me and I thought I'd give it a whirl and just see what kind of results might be had - always experimenting - can't be any worse as of late!
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:08 PM
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I have been reading this thread with horror. That many to get sick! it would break my heart and take the wind out of my sails. Being new to orchids all I can say is sorry I could have infected my phals when I brought home the new ones from Aldis. Full of spiders visible to the eye. Aldis threw out the whole bunch. Again so sorry.
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:04 PM
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mayres is a glorious beacon of lightmayres is a glorious beacon of lightmayres is a glorious beacon of lightmayres is a glorious beacon of lightmayres is a glorious beacon of lightmayres is a glorious beacon of light
Thanks! For 3-4 years I grew orchids as a newbie wondering what all the "commotion" was about pests. What pests? What disease issues? I'm really lovin' this - no problems.....just growing nice orchids................enjoying the blooms and the "ride".
(drums rolling..................)
Then disaster strikes.
I'm STILL analyzing, "what did I learn from this experience"?
* Spend time with your plants - examine them and catch any issues EARLY. I go through periods of letting mine fend for themselves for about a week at a time - hurry up and water on the weekend - and then let them go again for awhile......
* Don't get more plants than you have adequate room for (indoor/home grower) without crowding and not giving good light & air movement.
* Isolate new plants for awhile to confirm they aren't bringing something to your collection that is not welcome.
* Don't add/change too many factors at once - medias, applying various sprays (fungicidal, insecticidal, miticides, etc.), fertilizer, root stimulators, etc. Multiple culture issues can affect each other making the benefit or negative effect of any one of them hard to determine......

The more I know, the more I know that I don't know...............
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:55 PM
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Very good advice!
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:43 AM
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Mike, I'm really sorry to hear that you're still battling this problem, and hope that your latest effort will work.

I've been meaning to ask you about the coir medium...why did you switch from it? Did you have some problems with it? As you know, I've been using it since I tried it back in 2009, and have had great success with it. I've only lost one phal since then, a struggling lindenii, but I attribute that to keeping it too warm. And it's not completely dead yet.

I love the Orchiata bark, using it for my phrags and some dens and catts with great success. But I think I'd have a hard time keeping my phals hydrated enough in it.
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:26 PM
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Hi Mike, I haven't been on here much lately, and just noticed this post. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of so many of your Phals. I am wondering if the problem is from a combination of factors. I say that because in the fall of 2010 I had been leaving all my Phals outside even as the temperature was getting into the low 50's, and they were getting rained on. Well... it didn't take long for me to notice little liquid filled blemishes on some of the Phals, and pitting in the leaves similar to what you had in your photos on other ones. I realized that the plants were being stressed by the cold and damp, and started getting bacterial and fungal infections. I was able to stop these infections by giving my plants some warmth inside, and treating the infections.
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