Friend or Foe?

RetiredFlorida(9)September 29, 2012

Been dealing with little white bugs invading my hibiscus lately, so I'm paying closer attention to all my plants. I came across this little guy camouflaged in my new candlestick plant. I hope he is a friend, but if he isn't, I'll let him stay, he really isn't eating much.

Darren

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coffeemom(Broward z10)

It's the caterpillar for one of the yellow sulfur butterflies. If it eats the leaves it turns green . If it eats the flowers it turns yellow.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:25PM
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RetiredFlorida(9)

Thanks Coffeemom. Not sure what I did earlier, but probably responded on another thread?? That is pretty neat to learn what color it will be based on its food. It is one of the coolest colored cat that I've ever seen. So elated by butterfly/hummer garden is taking hold!

Darren

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 7:33PM
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slopfrog

If you've got "little white bugs" on your hibiscus they are probably mealy bugs or white flies. Either way, I think a systemic insecticide is the way to go. Dang hibiscus is the most pest ridden thing without it. It will also protect against gall midge which ruins the blossoms before they open. I had that real bad last year.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 8:58PM
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RetiredFlorida(9)

Thanks for the suggestion slopfrog. I just sprayed all my hibiscus with a safe concoction that a family member recommended.

1/2 gal water in misting sprayer
cap full of mouthwash
cap full of dawn dish soap
cap full of vegetable oil

My understanding is the dish soap will help coat the plant and suffocate the bugs. All my hibiscus bugs are little white specs, hard to see and almost completely cover the buds but are on the leaves too. Some of the buds are falling off prematurely and I've had just a few blooms the past several days.

I am new to using this home brewed formula so I do need to give it a chance to work. What I was wondering about systemic pest control is will it hurt the butterflies/hummers/bees that come to collect pollen or will it just hurt those that are trying to eat it?

Darren

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 9:17PM
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jane__ny(9-10)

Hibiscus attract aphids, that is what you are seeing on your buds. Try a forceful spray from your hose. It knocks them off. If you continue to do it every few days, it will send them somewhere else. You will notice ants on your hibiscus as they actually farm the aphids.

Jane

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 9:12PM
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RetiredFlorida(9)

Thank you Jane. Fascinating info. I do see the ants frequently on my bushes. The "soap" mixture I used cleaned out my bushes overnight. I am very pleased with the mixture however it did burn a few leaves in the process. I sprayed it liberally on all of my bushes. My problem is bigger tho as I found some on my desert rose by my front door, not in my garden.

I find it amazing how people can tell what these things are when I can barely seem them, haha.

Darren

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 10:11PM
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