Soil Mealy pest question

lilypad22(7)March 31, 2010

Someone I was talking to the other day brought up something interesting i had never heard or read before. She told me she read this info in an AVSA magazine article. I don't remember reading this

She doesn't want to use chemicals to treat pest problems and the article she read said to mix the (I'm going to spell this wrong...) diatimeatious earth into the potting soil and it will eradicate SOIL mealie bugs. She said this worked for her after a few months and several repottings they were completely gone.

I used this method for thrips and it worked really well dispite some people said once it is in the soil it is not effective as it gets too soft to "cut". But I've never heard it helped with the soil mealie.

Anyone else here anything about this or have a comment? I'd like to have a little more info before I tell anyone else they could try this. Hope Nancy puts in her thoughts too!


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irina_co(z5 CO)

Tish -

the common opinion is that if you load enough DE - you just wouldn't be able to SEE them - too much white...


    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 2:54PM
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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

Nothing will control soil mealy bug except chemicals. Imidacloprid is the one used most frequently these days.

If you have soil mealies and don't wish to use chemicals, throw out all plants infected and start again.

"They" are working on finding a bug that will eat up these creatures but so far nothing has been announced. They are working with a nematode predator.

Diatomatious Earth is made from ground up sea-creature skeletons which leaves a sharp edge that HELPS to kill soft-bodied soil insects. You add the white powder to your regular soil mix.

DE is very inexpensive and can be purchased at feed stores used to kill parasites in cattle.

DE will stay sharp in damp soil. But it is used as an aid and not as a cure. In other words, if you have no insects in the soil then introduce DE to your soil, it will help destroy some of them. But do not expect it to get rid of all of them. Do not rely on DE to take care of a soily mealy problem if you already have them.

As I said, the two choices for soil mealies are treat them with chemicals or destroy them. They will eventually destroy the plants anyway.

Soil mealy bug is the most popular bug in the African violet world these days. And they are not easy to get rid of.

Thrips spend most of their life spans flying or on flowers. They do go onto leaves and even into soil. Some may be affected by the DE, but I would not rely on DE to kill them all either.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 4:26PM
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Thanks for that info. This is all I have really heard too. The time I had the soil mealies, I used the granular marathon AND removed all the crowns and started the plants over or tossed the ones I didn't really want to keep. Now any plants I buy or are given I repot and use marathon and isolate. I suspect the fact that I use marathon is why my thrip problem went away. Lately though I've been battling those dratted gnats! Now...any plants I get in a box is opened OUTSIDE! the house!.

I was surprised to hear she had read this in an avsa magazine article and that she said it worked for her. I would think if it took several months, they would have killed off the violets already. Maybe she didn't have them, or maybe she also cleaned off the plants each time she repotted and they were reduced enough that she thought they were all erradicated. Don't know. That is a good point about the white Irina!

Thanks for comments and info! tish

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 11:55AM
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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

Speaking of soil mealies... I haven't had any in a long time.

Recently I looked at some seedlings, 2 mini/semi seedlings growing up in a completely closed container. The two seedlings had pushed themself out of the soil, almost and on the trunk was this white mess.

I held my breath as I observed with my trusty 40X lighted jeweler's loupe. No movement. None whatsoever.

I thought it could be the soil mealies nests. Nope. I touched alcohol to one and zip it disappeared.

The white blob was either foliar mealies (disappearing with alcohol) or it was a soil fungus.

I believe it to be the fungus which somehow can get into a closed container with two seedlings and soil plus humidity.

I was scared I'd have to do another round with Imidacloprid but I will just throw these little things away, container, soil and seedlings.

I don't want to take chances and it's so easy to get more seedlings.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 11:19PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Nancy - you are right - it is fungus. I just had a scare myself - my mat was covered with this white fuzz - but no rice grains...


    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 11:57PM
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I think once you've had them, you are always on the lookout and anything and everything suspicious makes you hold your breath. Its good to exhale though ! when its all okay.

Speaking of fungus. I came across a 6" or so square bottle..put in some perlite, soil and sprinkled in some chirita tamiana seeds. The plants are doing great and blooming but the soil has developed a yellowish fungus growing in patches and its getting larger. quite a lot of it now. As the bottle has a small neck and opening, the only way those plants are coming out is if I break the bottle and that is not likely to happen. Is there something I can spray in there that will kill the fungus and not hurt the plant or are they going to be companions till whenever?


    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 11:43AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Tish - hi

I think you just keep your bottle as long as you enjoy it - and then toss it. With tamiana and fungus.

I would try to add physan to water since I have it .. It would be better if you would pasterize the soil before starting the project - but now even if you extract your plants with roots - soil on them will carry this fungus.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 7:41PM
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