Soil mealies

LindaApril 4, 2013

I have soil mealy bugs for the first time, I was wondering, instead of using a pesticide, would I be getting rid of them if I cut the crown off and re-rooted?


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Soil mealies are rampant in my area. I was not able to get rid of them so I finally threw all away.

Using Imidacloprid or Marathon or other poison is just about the only thing most people use to get rid of them.

Crown the plant, cut the entire root ball off and remove bottom leaves to try to save the plants.

Sorry to be so negative but I had a bad experience with them.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 5:06AM
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Sorry to hear that Nancy! I've had some real battles with those nasty little buggers in the past. Before I was able to get my hands on Imidacloprid the only thing I could do was take a leaf/sucker and soak them in Malathion or diazinon, and then toss everything else (plant, soil and all). Then there was the disinfecting of the contaminated area... i swear those thing survive a long time outside of soil!!! It took a while, but I managed to get them under control (however, I keep a sharp eye out for them). Now with Imidacloprid I haven't seen any in quite some time.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 8:26AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Linda -

it is a very good idea. That was the only way I was able to get rid of them in my streps. For whatever reason - they are really persistent in Streptocarpus.

We just got new type of soil mealies - a friend of mine got them in a plant she bought somewhere at the show sales and shared with me.

Normally what we saw before - slow moving guys producing lots of wax - you can easily see under fluorescent light - it glows bluish.
New ones - no wax, and quite fast moving - and seems that they spread faster. She comes to me and says - is it some kind of soil mite? Oops - it is a super mealie. We are trying to nix them with Marathon. Will keep you posted on how it works.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 12:21PM
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Just my 2 cents worth...try adding a teaspoon of white vinegar to the water in a gallon container when watering and fertilizing your African violets. The bugs hate vinegar and it doesn't harm the plants.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 4:32PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

It probably won't harm plant and improve an alkaline water - but I am afraid these darn mealies need to be hit on the head with a hammer 3 times to insure their demise. A friend of mine years ago - was drenching her pots with Malathion to get rid of them - so they would get out of the pot - and hang out on a wick - until the soil dries - and they would go back and find themselves a safe pocket of soil where the poison didn't reach.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 1:05PM
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Oh my goodness.... brings back nightmares. I had soil mealies many years ago. I began sterilzing my potting mix before use. Even though many ingredients are believed sterile, the peat moss or other components can be contaminated with organisms or their children! I put my mix in one of those oven roasting bags you use for a large turkey along with about a cup of H2O. Let a small vent for steam escape. Add an oven safe meat thermometer and bake for one hour at 180 degrees. I also sterilize my plastic pots in bleach solution.
You can take cuttings washed in Malathion and re-plant in the sterilized soil. I wish you luck. It is a winnable war - you just need to be very very clean with everything coming into contact with your plants.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 6:24PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Malathion stinks.

You can dip cuttings in a Clorox or alcohol solution - 1:4 - and then rinse in a lukewarm water, recut and plant.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:57AM
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Is Marathon safe for babies still attached to mother leaf? I have a mealy infestation on some other, full grown plants and want to prevent them from seeking refuge in my propagation area.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 5:04PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

There is some damage from Marathon - but not too bad.

If you know that you have area with soil mealy infestation - you need to reroot the crowns. It is not worth fighting them in the soil. Marathon is active for 3 months - and there is no guarantee you do not have some sleeping egg which will reinfest the whole tray again.

What you can do for the young plants - make and wet your soil mix - and add Marathon - like a tablespoon per gallon - and let it sit for 10 days. In 10 days the Marathon will settle a bit - and won't burn your babies. So you can start repotting your plantlets and plugs. That's what Violet Showcase owner told me - and he he is in business for 30 years.

Wear latex gloves when you work with soil. You do not need a Marathon touching your skin - plus your manicure wouldn't be ruined.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 8:41PM
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UPDATE 6/26/13: Marathon did not burn my plantlets when allowed to settle before using as detailed by Irina above--thanks Irina!

In other good news, as far as I can tell, my soil mealy problem has been eradicated. It involved a lot of decapitation of crowns, washing of roots with alcohol solution (on small AVs with small root systems), and liberal application of imidacloprid granules.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:40PM
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