Black small elongated bugs in kalanchoe. What is it?

lameri(Zone 9, CA)December 9, 2005


I've had my kalanchoe for almost 4 years and it has always been very healthy and blooming. 2 weeks ago I started noticing the stems emerging with the buds, so I was very happy because that would mean to have flowers by Christmas (withough light conditioning!!).

Well today I noticed that on several stems there are black bugs, plenty of them!! What are they? What do I do? So sad...

(I'll try to post a picture)

Thank you!

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rosemariero(Z9 SW SUNDiegoCA)

Aphids! Blast them with water to remove them.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 10:44PM
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lameri(Zone 9, CA)

Thanks, Rosemarie. I live in an apartment, so I can't use a hose for it, do they "unstick" easily or do I need a lot of water pressure.

Also, in another bulletin board they said "scales" and now I'm confused, is there any difference in treatment?
Thank you again!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 2:32AM
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rjj1(Norman OK Zone7)

Those are aphids and Rosemarie's advice is good. I would invest in a one quart pump up spray bottle. That way you can carry the plant outdoors and wash them off there. It doesn't take a lot of pressure.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 7:10AM
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lameri(Zone 9, CA)

I have refilled an old spray bottle with water and I'm trying but it is very hard because not all come out and pressing the handle once and again for 10 minutes have left my arm dead...

I'm going to try in the shower. I also have an insect killer against -among others- aphids. Should I use it after the "shower".
Thank you again, you are great help!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 4:28PM
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rjj1(Norman OK Zone7)

That's why I recommended a 1 quart "pump up" spray bottle :-).

If you are wanting to add something to the water, I would just use a drop or two of liquid dish-washing detergent. After it's been on the plant for 20 minutes or so, then give it a shower. I'm not real big on bathing with aphids myself though.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 4:41PM
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lameri(Zone 9, CA)


I just put the plant in the shower and sprayed it there with the hand shower. But I still see some (lots of foliage prevent the water from reaching everywhere around the buds and I'm afraid to use more pressure and damage the buds). BTW, will the buds survive this?
What do I do with the remaining bugs? The insect killer I have is of the brand Safer, but I'm not sure that makes it any safer in the buds? In my on-line research I've also read to use diluted dish soap or even alcohol...
Thank you!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 4:44PM
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cactuspolecat(Tasmania Aust)

Hey lameri, if you have pet tropical fish, they love 'em. We used to have pet fish, I used to knock them off into a jar and give them to the fish.
Alternatively, if a jet of water is is not the answer, try a houseplant insecticide aerosol. Downunder, we use a Mortein brand called "House and Garden"... but there is a number of others. Don't use ordinary insect spray as this will likely kill your plant. The Aphids love any new growth and flower buds, you often get the green aphids on rose buds.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2005 at 4:21AM
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BuckHemenway(z19 SoCAl)


Safer will work just fine and won't damage your plant. I use it combined with more potent stuff constantly on all of the crassula genera without any damage to the plants. Go for it. Get rid of the little beasties before they do real damage to the bloom.

I'll bet that you've had ants around this plant as well. They farm the aphids for their sweet excretions. Kill the ants, or you will never get rid of the aphids.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2005 at 9:06AM
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lameri(Zone 9, CA)

Thanks, Buck. It's very good to know that Safer insect killer won't damage the buds, since I didn't seem to be able to get them all out with the water and I did see how I was starting to damage the buds with the pressure. I hope the spray can reach everywhere and kill them all. How will I distinguish the dead aphids from the ones still alive? So that I can make sure they are all dead...

    Bookmark   December 11, 2005 at 12:05PM
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BuckHemenway(z19 SoCAl)

The dead ones will look a lot like they do now, just won't squish, just fall off when touched. Use a small soft bristled brush and sweep them off.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 2:15AM
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