Orchids and Mealy Bugs

lar11833(8)January 28, 2008

I'm assuming those little bitty tannish things on my orchids are mealy bugs. They were there when I brough them inside. I've been treating them with Q tips wrapped in extra cotton and alcohol. Is this the right treatment for mealy bugs? I've never had them before but they sure damaged my orchids. Help!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joe_orch(Z5 WI)

Those little bitty tannish things on your orchids are probably scale. If you have a few alcohol will probably do the trick but keep a sharp eye because there may be eggs that will hatch. You could also spray the plant with an insecticidal soap three to four times seven to 10 days apart. Isolate the plant from the rest of your plants. Don't take this lightly or they will get out of control and ruin your collection.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 8:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ray_ratliff(z10 South Florida)

Lar11833, I have spent the last month getting rid of scale (which I agree with Joe, sounds more like what you have. Mealy bugs are small, white & kind of hair looking). Using alcohol & Q tips is fine for a small amount of scale. If all of your plants have it, its time to look at something more like a systemic. Granted, I do not have the many years of experience that many growers on here have had, but after 2 treatments of ortho the bugs are gone & I have not found any more babies! I made a thread earlier in the month about options for treating scale. One of the ladies gave me some great ideas on using more natural ways of dealing with scale, mealy bugs, & more! One of them is lady bugs or neem oil or insecticidal soap. My infestation was too advanced to use any of the safer, non toxic methods so the systemic insecticide was the only viable option. Do a search for a thread called "Scale Problem" posted earlier this month & you should find lots of great info there!


    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 11:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mehitabel(z6 MO)

Hi, Lar. I can only agree with the above. Scale and mealie are really persistent pests. I've done the soapy water and alcohol bit and they just come back and back and back.

They also hide extremely well, including on flowers, between the petals, in the lip, on the flower stem of oncids-- anywhere they are really hard to see. So if you go after them by ones and twos, you really can very easily miss a couple. And a couple = thousands in a week or two.

A systemic is better.

The only thing I would add is that scale *can* afflict a plant that's weakened (or weaken a plant that was healthy), so be sure after spraying them, you give them your best care.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 5:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you I have to agree, I do think it's scales. I'll get insecticidal soap. I have used alcohol on them but as you say, it keeps coming back and I have secluded them. I have several that have this so on my way to Lowe's to get insecticidal spray. Thank you all so very much.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 9:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

lar11833, I went through the same mealy bug and/or scale problem you are experiencing. I started the battle with alcohol and cotton swabs, but there were just too many mealy bugs. The next thing I tried was soaking the pots in a neem oil solution. It worked for a few weeks. When the mealy bugs (and some scale) returned, I finally bit the bullet and dipped the pots in a solution of Bayer Advanced All in One Rose and Flower Care. I haven't seen a bug in three weeks! I have two phals in bloom that I did not dip in the Bayer solution and those plants continue to have mealy bugs. I am still dabbing the bugs with alcohol. Mind you, I killed many of the flowers with the alcohol. Today I am going to dip those two phals in a 409, alcohol and water solution. If that doesn't work, they are being dipped in Bayer. I'm just too tired of the fight and saw good results with the Bayer. Good luck with the fight! Liz

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
judy_b_va(Z7 Va)

I have lost over half of my orchids this year. Some had the leaves turn black and fall off, others have scale, and I guess mealy bugs. They look like they have white mold on them. Have never had such bad luck, might have been the weather this summer, but from now on they don't go outside for the summer. Should I dip the whole thing, pot and plant and all? Any suggestions are appreciated.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 8:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jamcm(Ottawa Area, Canada)

Judy, the "white mold" you mention could very well be Boisduval scale, a hellishly difficult pest to get rid of. As another poster mentioned, pests are often attracted to "weaker" plants and when present in sufficient numbers, will outright kill a plant.

Sounds like you have a combo of things and if your summer was anything like ours up here (cool and wet), that certainly contributed to it. My suggestion to you is to take the plants out of their pots and clean them thoroughly using a mild dish soap like Ivory and lukewarm water. Get rid of any dead roots or growths. Stand up in the pot and place a bit of damp sphag at the bottom around the roots. Now dip or spray them like crazy. Repeat every 7 to 10 days or as recommended on the product you'll use. Keep your plants in a bright and warm spot, with ok humidity and air circulation. Spray the sphag when it is dry. The advantage of leaving the plants more or less bareroot is that it is easier to see any returning bugs and to then treat them. You're also less likely to rot anything.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mehitabel(z6 MO)

Since this has been bumped, I would like to add my big insight into scale and mealie bugs this year:

For phals, an outbreak that keeps recurring on the same plant probably has a well hidden pest factory working overtime in one of the junctures between leaf and stem. Even mealies in the flowers can come from a leaf-juncture factory.

The soapy water wash Julie recommends will kill a lot of them. When you're washing it, be sure to bend the oldest leaves back as far as they will go without breaking and peer inside for any white fuzz or other signs of hiding nasties. Also, get plenty of soap in any cracks or leaf junctures.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 4:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Two threads on scale - tis the season!

Now facing a nightmare outbreak of scale, I believe diligence is the best cure. In my case, I spent little time with my plants this summer and fall. Life happens, good or bad. I don't believe you ever 'cure' scale. I wouldn't and couldn't bare root all my plants or scrub every root or pbulb. If you watch and stay on top of them your plants will survive and they won't get out of control

I used Bayer systemic this summer and they are still full of scale. Mine are not weak, sick plants. Most are large catts with multiple spikes and buds. What caused my outbreak? Negligence... the only cure for insect infestation is vigilance.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 11:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is something you can try it won't hurt anything and it might work. I had my Dancing Girl Ginger get infested with scale. the flower stocks are so delicate it was hard to get them off with the Q tip. I also had mealy bug hit my Clivia. I used alcohol and neem oil several times and i could not get rid of it.
Somebody sugggest using cloves of garlic. I peeled it and cut the root terminal off and set it half way in the potting media. I put three cloves in my Clivia and three in the ginger. After about two weeks scale and mealy are gone. Next infestation I get I will try it again. I will let you know if it is still successful

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 12:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Use a toothbrush to brush the hard to reach area.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 12:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used Ortho rose and flower on 2 Cyms and it seemed to rid them of the scale. Bayer rose and flower is supposed to be good as well.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 9:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
judy_b_va(Z7 Va)

I use semi-hydro, do you think I could dip the entire plant, pot, medium, and all. Or should I take the plants out of the medium, clean it all and repot?
I use a spray mixture of Murphy oil soap, alcohol and water that I read about on this forum a while back, and it works on what I can see, but I think the critters hide in the roots, and multiply there and then crawl up the plant. I have lost so many plants this summer, I hate to lose more. I have the unhealthy ones in the basement windows and the others upstairs. I do have some sort of little spider upstairs also, but they don't disturb me like the scale does.
By the way, what do you think the black leaves are caused by?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 6:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
orchid126(z6, NJ)

There is a recipe on another forum created by Brookn. Everyone is raving about it and they say it works. I've purchased the cinnamon extract and have it at the ready, but I haven't needed it yet so I can't say from experience.

10 drops dish soap
1.8 ml cinnamon extract
(about 2t.)
2 C. tepid water

Use for cleaning leaves, bacteria, fungal infections, bug deterrent, bug and slug killer

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 4:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
judy_b_va(Z7 Va)

Question about the Bayer. I see where it says to use only outside and then not to use on potted plants. Can you tell me how you mixed it to use inside on the orchids? Does it have a lot of fumes? is that why they say to use it outside only? Any information would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 9:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carolinn_on(z3 Northern Ontario)

I've used the Original Listerine for quite a few years. Just pour into a bottle (full strength) and spray. For bad infestations, I pour equal amounts of neem oil and dish detergent in a container of water and soak the plant for 6 hours. I also spray it with the mixture, and also the space where the plant resides.(Try not to spray the floor, as it's a slippery mixture).

I try to keep on top of things by looking over the plants with my spray bottle of Listerine on hand, and spray where needed. The scale and mealy bugs love to go onto new growth, so that's where I find them almost every time. Just bad infestations that got out of hand when we were away last winter/spring.

Remember, use the Original Listerine, not the new flavours.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 10:42PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What's wrong with my Oncidium Howard's Dream?
So I divided and repotted this Onc. about a month ago....
Orchid potting mix?
Anyone ever used al's gritty mix as orchid potting...
Britni Rice
In bloom 27 months and counting...
Dendrobium Hialeah twist. (Spiker x canaliculatum)...
shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b
Dog tumor?
Is there a reason the post below about a dog's tumor...
angraecum sesquipedale framboyant x bosorii lisa
Hi all, Two weeks ago i received an Angraecum sesquipedale...
yenika_zone10 Miami, Fl
Sponsored Products
Jane Seymour White Phalaenopsis Orchid 19H in. Silk Flower Arrangement - JSBB113
$70.00 | Hayneedle
Grand Central Jam Canvas
$69.99 | Dot & Bo
Radiant Orchid Apothecary Table Lamp
$99.99 | Lamps Plus
Contemporary Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Artistic Weavers Rugs Persepolis Bronze 8
Home Depot
Stepping Out Floral Arrangement
$999.00 | FRONTGATE
Focus Pink Rectangular: 5 Ft. 3 In. x 7 Ft. 6 In. Rug
$199.00 | Bellacor
Jill Deveraux 'White Orchid,Orange Orchid- set of 2' Framed Art Print 16 x 16-in
Black Orchid Vertical Napkin Holder
$89.00 | Horchow
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™