tiny black spot infestation. Help!

lovebromeliadsJune 20, 2009

Im new to bromeliads and i didnt know the tiny black spots were very bad until all my bromeliads on my patio had the black spots and a lot of them. i would definitely say that the plants are infested. what are they? can i treat them so far out of control? do i have to get rid of all my bromeliads? if so do i have to get rid of the plants that arent bromeliads? please help. i dont want to infect any other plants.

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LisaCLV(HI)

Can't be sure without seeing it, but it sounds like you may have fly-speck scale. The most effective way of treating it would be to use a systemic insecticide like Marathon or Merit, which will reach areas a contact spray can't get to.

You'll still be left with the black spots, though. They'll just be dead and won't spread any further (assuming you can get to all of them). If you don't have a lot of plants you could go over them with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol, which will help loosen the scale, and also kill any live ones. This works fairly well on mealybugs and soft brown scale, but fly-speck scale is a bit more difficult, and if it's a really heavy infestation it may be more trouble than it's worth.

A picture would help, just to make sure that is what you have. There are also fungal diseases that can cause black spots, but they're usually not so tiny. If you can scrape it off with your fingernail, it's scale.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 11:57AM
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splinter1804

Hi lovebromeliads,

If it's a serious infestation of fly speck scale, what Lisa said will do the trick alright, but like she says it will kill them but won't remove them.

I sometimes get them on newly acquired plants and have found the best way to remove the dead ones is with an old tooth brush with cut down bristles. This is especially good for getting into the awkward places.

The next thing is to prevent a re-occurrence; and to do this you must always carefully check and quarantine all new plants as well as providing good air movement between plants and avoiding over crowding.

As for the other plants, I imagine the systemic spray should work for them also, but be careful; read the directions on the container and take the necessary safety precautions.

White oil sprays which are commonly used for scale on other plants are not recommended for bromeliads as they may cause them harm.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 4:47PM
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lovebromeliads

Thank you so much for the info. Ive tried insecticidal soap but im not sure if these things are alive or dead. I am going to try the systemic insecticide you suggested. I will try the tooth bush idea too, thanks. I would hate to have to get rid of these plants so I will try everything I can. I have 6 of them and one is about to bloom after having it for a year. I know it will take some time and care to remove ALL those specs but I guess Ill try to get what I can off. Some plants are worse than others. The ones that are a bit darker green with purple tips seem to have a lot less of them and they are fewer and farther between. Thanks again for your help. I will let you know how it goes.
(i tried to include a picture but i couldn't figure out how to.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 12:36AM
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