*HELP* me get rid of these bugs please

jennie_oh(z5)April 30, 2009

I have sprayed better homes & garden spray on this plant, soil, & pot about 3 times spaced out & can NOT get rid of this. Scale bugs ???? I have 5 plants together (this is a different type of orchid) & this is the only 1 with this. This plant came from FL to me as a gift about 2 yrs ago & have been fighting this since it was gave to me.

Please some advice..........It's in bloom right now.

Here is a link that might be useful:

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penelope14(5 WI)


Yep, looks like scale to me. You can take q-tips, paper toweling, cotton balls, and rubbing alcohol to wipe down every leaf, top and bottom. I've been using Neem oil but have recently switched back to Bayer Rose Care spray in a blue bottle. Not the one with the fertilizer added, just the insecticide.

I'd unpot it for a few weeks using spaghnum moss lightly tucked around the roots to keep them moist while I was "medicating" it. That way I could toss the spaghnum, spray the whole plant, and replace the spaghnum. Just in case there were anything on the roots.

If there is paper sheathing on the pbulb, spray it wet with water and peel it away. You'll probably find tons of the d**n things.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 1:40PM
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richardol(Santa Royale CA)

Penelope gave the same advice I would have. I might add taking the plant out of the pot cleaning it up as well as possible all over. Remove everything brown that can be peeled back. Use water with a bit of dish soap.

Spray every part of the plant and roots with the bayer.

This is a Catt of some type, so it can do fine bare root. After cleaning and spraying, leave it unpotted for a couple of days, then re-clean and re-spray and then use a brand new pot and fresh medium.

I use the Bayer Rose all-in-one as an additive to my fertilization to maintain the protection of a systematic.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 2:33PM
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I would repot and go at it with a soft toothbrush and soapy water (dish washing liquid is great) and try to scrub every little crevice. Then give a spray with the insect spray.

If you don't want to repot, the rubbing alcohol + qtip works wonders, but you have to keep checking the plant every few weeks. I really don't think it's possible to get rid of these buggers without using a systemic, but those are a little too scary for my taste.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 3:11PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

richardol, I'm curious, do you use the bayer all-in-one as a spray or a liquid drench? If a drench, what strength? Thanks.

jennie, the Bayer stuff works on this pest, where few other things will. But don't spray spread out over a long period of time, spray at the exact intervals and number of times as instructed on the label. Wear gloves and long-sleeves just to be safe, also as the label says.

I agree about cleaning up the plant first before you start the spray regimen. Otherwise you won't be able to see if the pests come back.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 4:00PM
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richardol(Santa Royale CA)

I mix it in a pump sprayer at 1/2 strength and spray in on the medium after watering once a month. I use just fertilizer the other weeks. It builds up over time, while the spray lasts a couple of weeks (the label sez 30 days, but there is so much water around my greenhouse I doubt it).

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 4:28PM
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I would really like to keep this pot. I need info on how to clean up then ? I have never dealt with an orchid parasite so, need detailed info please. Why didn't the other 4 get this (I hope they don't) ?

Have no clue what this is......sheathing on the pbulb ?


    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 6:59PM
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Sheathing on the pbulb is the brown, paperlike coating which surrounds the base of the bulb. When a new growth starts growing, the shealth is green. As the growth matures the sheath (skin) starts to turn brown and dry. Scale love to hide under it. You can peel it off and rub the bulb with some alcohol which will kill any scale.

Your pot can be saved. You didn't say what kind of pot, but almost any pot can be cleaned with bleach or put in the dishwasher. If clay, you can bleach it and let it air dry. Ceramic is easy, I put them in the dishwasher.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 10:50PM
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Ok, got the bug spray as posted above....Bayer.

I know to wipe all leaves with alcoh., then un-pot plant, take off all medium, peel off all sheathing, wash in soapy water (roots), spray & re-pot with NO medium ? Plant is blooming, should to do now ? If so, how about spraying the bloom with bug spray ?

How long to let go in NO medium & how often to water this way ?

Do I need to re-spray & when to plant back to be normal ?

Why didn't the other orchids get & this different one got ?


    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 1:41PM
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I would get rid of the medium, then use a systemic as a drench, once a week for three weeks. When the bugs are so intrenched I don't think a spray can get at them all.

If you are careful, using rubber gloves, doing it outside, and disposing of it properly (pour it into dirt, not down the pipes), the systemic is safe for you and the plant.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 11:28AM
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I would do as margoinchicago suggested. Wash your pot and orchid really well. Then use a new potting bark or spagnum moss, whichever you prefer. Isolate your infested plant. Meally Bugs and Scale can be easily trasmitted to the others and they are hard to detect until too late. Use clean garden tools.
Is the insect kind of powdery? It looks like you have mealy bugs (white powdery fluff) and scale (round/oval shell like insect)at the same time. I would suggest you go into www.aos.org and orchid board,read up on the Insect and Pest. They have tons of info that may help.
I personally do not use insecticide. I mixed up a more organic spray cause I grow my orchids indoors. I have been using about 1/3 Cup 70% rubbing alchohol, 1 Cup water, 1 tsp Neem/cooking oil and 1 tsp Ivory dish soap in a sprayer, shake well and spray the plants every 3-5 days for about 2-3 weeks. For your case maybe a little longer. You can also use Windex with ammonia to treat scales. You can use a soft toothbrush to brush the scales off, after you spray the plant with Windex. I mean top to roots.
Other option would be using the insecticide and the alchohol spray alternatingly. Hopefuly these helps. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 3:02PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

I'd like to clarify something here. The Bayer Rose & Flower spray in the photo IS a systemic. That's rather unusual for a spray - most sprays only work on contact. This particular spray kills on contact, but it is also absorbed by the leaves, so that when any pests that didn't get sprayed start sucking on the plant's fluids, they get poisoned.

From the photo, it looks like you have mealy, or perhaps it could be some sort of scale, or both. Doesn't matter. Mealy actually is a type of scale, so the treatment is the same regardless.

jennie, your infestation looks pretty bad, so I would isolate this plant in another room for a month or so and wash your hands well after you handle it before tending to other plants.

It is probably a good idea to unpot it, sterilize the pot, clean up the plant with alcohol, and then spray with the Rose & Flower spray. But at that point, I think you would be OK to repot with clean, new media and water as normal.

You need to go back and respray at whatever intervals the directions say. I don't have mine handy, but I think it says something like spray 3 times, 7 to 10 days apart. The reason you want to do this is to make sure you kill all the generations of bugs. These guys reproduce very quickly, and the eggs and some stages of the scale life cycle are very resistant to pesticides. So you have to spray again to catch them after they hatch, or when they are juvenile crawlers, or whatever.

Why didn't your other plants get it? The pests probably came in with your infected orchid, but they were small and only a few, so you didn't see them until the problem had escalated. I had an orchid from a good seller that sat in my dining room for months and suddenly broke out with mealy. Luckily, it hadn't joined my collection of 40-odd orchids yet, so the mealy didn't spread. But that's why a quarantine of a new plant is always a good thing.

I would watch your existing plants carefully over the next year - the mealy may show up on them too. If you want to be extra careful, spray all your orchids, not just the infected one, or at least spray the ones that were next to it.

Mealy and scale are tough opponents, but IF you follow the schedule on the spray bottle, you should triumph.

Oh, and I would cut off the flower spike altogether while this is going on. The mealy are already stressing out your plant, the flowers are only requiring extra energy that it needs to fight the pests.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 3:30PM
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THANK YOU ALL very much !!!

Wow, what a job today & hope I have tackled these bugs somewhat !

I can see scales still wedged in the cracks of the base of the plant, didn't know the tooth brush deal till now so, didn't get everyone picked off.

I did wipe the plant down with alcohol, this got alot of the scale off. I then unpotted it, shook/picked off all media, rinsed the roots off with soapy water, then cut some of the dead looking roots, sprayed roots & plant real well, kind of drenched it. Did this outside & sun did help dry it faster (hope this didn't hurt). I then put in a 4" plant container (one I had that anuals come in) with some spag. moss. I then watered some.

Bayer spray says to re-spray in 7-14 days. I will, but do I need to this only once or more ? How long to keep away from other plants ? Should I spray the other plants even though I see nothing ? Do I need to do all the re-potting crap with them ? Should you spray the blooms ? I have another in full bloom right now.

I thank you all much again...........

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 11:02PM
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