Help, little yellow bugs on hoya!

alba_gardenerJuly 14, 2008

OK Guys,

How do I get rid of these tiny yellow bugs on the new growth of my old lady hoya, without hurting her? I tried removing them with alcohol on a q-tip, but that didn't work.This morning when I checked her again, there they were again! So, what should I do?

alba in Hawthorne, Ca

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Mentha(9 CA)

Hi Alba,
Do you have a picture of the bugs? I've never heard of a yellow plant pest. Are they fuzzy? hard shelled? do they have wings? Do you see webbing?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 1:56PM
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The dreaded aphids! I hate them... It's why I don't put mine outside, although (as I mentioned on antother thread) I have them in my GH this year. They're a real nuisance. What I do is hit them with a spray of alcohol, then follow it with a strong stream of water. The alcohol will kill them, then the water knocks them off. But, they'll be back. So I water with Bayer Tree & Shrub, which makes it poisonous to them and they stay away. They were really going to town on my Dischidia ovata right after I'd watered it and I didn't want to water again so soon, so I had to fight them for about a week before I could justify watering with the Bayer's. But I've been chasing them all over the GH this summer - just when I think I've seen the last of them, up pop some more. What a pain!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 3:46PM
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It's likely those citrus aphids, and they are extemely easy to get rid of, sometimes I just rinse them away, but if that doesn't work try rubbing alcohol or Safers Insecticidal soap, both safe and non toxic ways to treat for bugs. Since they only like the new growth, and because they are so bright colored, they are easy to spot. I think they come in occasionally with other houseplants or annuals, but if you keep an eye out and don't let them get too numerous, they are not a big problem. I don't like to use chemicals if something can be handled more safely, and these little orange aphids just don't get the upperhand in my environment. Maybe that is one benefit of NOT having a greenhouse, because if they get out of control in a
closed-in and contained environment like that, it could be alot more work to deal with them.

I haven't even seen any of those aphids this year - plenty of the plain old green aphids, but not the citrus ones!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 3:58PM
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That's interesting, Ines. I had no idea there were different kinds of aphids - I only see the bright yellow ones around here, and we don't even have any citrus that grows here! I see them on those viney weeds that get the big seed pods on them that open in the fall (what ARE those plants called??) I hate the aphids because they keep coming back if I just shoot them off with water. Does the Safer's soap keep them away once you use it? If so, maybe I'll try that.

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 4:55PM
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Thanks to all of you who responded to my question. Now I know what I am dealing with. I'll try the alcohol spray and water rinse and hope that will work.
I shouldn't have put her outside but someone told me she had scale, so I put her out so my other plants wouldn't get infested with scale. However, she didn't have scale, and ever since she's been outside I've had nothing but problems.
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 5:37PM
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Denise, I have heard that those "citrus" aphids are west coast aphids and that they have slowly made their way east in the past few years, hitchhiking rides on plants and produce...not sure if they are called citrus because of their sunny orange color or because they are from California - and of course, citrus could just be a nickname.

There are all different colors and sizes of aphids, actually, There are wooly aphids, pine aphids, veggie aphids etc ect The colors range from black to who knows. Lately I have been seeing the green ones on my nummularioides and the new growth on a few other hoyas in the atrium, but not outdoors yet. One thing strange about aphids is that in the first part of their reproduction cycle it is all females, and instead of laying eggs, they give birth to smaller female versions of themselves, no males needed (novel idea, huh?) When the plant gets too crowded, some develop wings and fly off to colonize new plants, and some turn into males, then real sex takes place, eggs are laid, I think they are all females, and the whole process starts over. Supposedly if all the descendents of a single aphid survived a summer, and were lined up, the line could circle the earth a few times. That they can take over a single greenhouse in a short period is no surprise!

No, Safers is not a preventative. But if you use it as per label, soak the plant and then in a week or so do it again, it should take care of them until new one's show up. That might not work in your situation. I would imagine the Bayers is the easiest and surest way to deal with them, but I have some strong feelings about chemicals like that and what they do so I am always looking for other alternatives, even if they mean more work on my part... someday when I have a greenhouse full of plants I may have a different opinion about that, though! Since I don't have that set up now, I have not looked into any other non-chemical methods for dealing with bugs, and at this point I would probably only use a product like Bayers if I had scale.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 8:53PM
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Denise, you mentioned lady bugs on another thread, I would do some research about that if I were you before spending any money on it..I have talked to people that have tried it, both outdoors and in greenhouses, and heard that the ladybugs split as soon as they get the chance, they don't hang around, something about migration. I am not sure but I would check it out just in case

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 8:58PM
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I got those yellow aphids once, and boy were they nasty looking things!

I bought a plant online, and found a bunch of aphids on it several days after buying it (goes to show that you have to really inspect your plants when you get them, and quarantine them for awhile). Anyway, I never saw an aphid before this, and I was freaked out when I saw these! What ugly creatures!

I have to admit though, they weren't too hard to get rid of (I was SO close to tossing the plant because of how gross they were, and they were the first bugs my hoyas have ever seen). I did the soapy water spray (maybe with some rubbing alcohol added), and after several rounds (they came back a few times), they were gone and never came back. I now use BATS when I find mealies (the only bugs I find now....the aphids came from where the plant came from, and I hope I never see one again!). However, I didn't know about BATS or any systemics then, and the aphids still went away. So I'd try a simpler method first...then take out the big guns if that doesn't work.

Oh, and about keeping plants outside during the Spring/Summer...I was initially afraid last season to bring my hoyas out. But I actually found the my INSIDE hoyas get mealies...not my outside ones! Strange, huh?!

You know what is supposedly a good critter preventative? GSE...Grapefruit Seed Extract. Just put about 15 drops into your mister bottle (if you use VF-11, just add the GSE also).

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 9:54PM
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Mentha(9 CA)

On Scale,
I have a citrus growing friend who uses fish emulsion as a spray on her plants. It coats their scale so they can't breath. It may need to be done a couple times to catch crawlies, but it does work.
She also use GSE and tobacco tea with a couple drops of dish soap to kill any other nasties. For a while I would buy just plain orange scented spray cleaner and spray my plants (because tobacco does not agree with nightshades) then hose them off after a few minutes, this killed all sorts of bugs. If I sprayed it on the soil, then soaked it in in the bath tub, it would draw the fungus gnat larvae up to the top of the soil and kill them. I never had dry or dead leaves, nor did it burn my plants.

Unfortunately I just remembered this, Maybe I need to write a book so I can rememeber all that has worked for me. Off to buy some orange cleaner and FE. :)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 10:14PM
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I have used beneficial insects for control several times in the past with good results. The trick with ladybugs is to place them at the base of the affected plant so that they will crawl up to where the aphids are. If you simply spread the beetles out in the open they will fly away. There is an American supplier that has "stay at home" ladybird beetles that were selectively bread to stay close to the release site.

I make a spray of water, liquid dish soap, Nicotina rustica tobacco leaves and garlic for aphids, white fly or other pests. I am sure you could leave the tobacco out of the mix but the nicotine is great for killing insect pests. If you add tobacco you should make sure to wear gloves to protect your skin. Like Mentha mentioned any Solanaceous plants could get tobacco mosaic virus or other viruses from coming into contact with an affected tobacco plant so it's best not to use this recipe on that group of plants.


Here is a link that might be useful: Sta-Home Lady Beetles

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 12:20AM
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Mentha(9 CA)

Thanks Mike,
Forgot to mention adding garlic. Cayenne pepper was also added, I think. Which reminds me my grandma makes a tincture of apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, cayenne and something else for colds. I wonder how it would work to add it to some water and spray it on plants.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 12:48AM
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Hi Alba,

Those are aphids, and my hoyas have them too. They love the suck the sap from new growth. Ugh! I carefully remove them almost on a daily basis with hot water from the faucet, and with my fingertips. In severe infestations I use some dish soap, diluted in some hot water.

P.S. - I see you're from Hawthorne. Lived there all my life, until 4 years ago, then moved South.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 2:45AM
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marilyn_c(z9 Tex.coast)

I had them on one of my hoyas too. They are just like the ones that get on my butterfly weeds. I washed them off and they returned, and I moved the plant, and they haven't been back. I have a big population of assassin bugs around here, so maybe they took care of them.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 9:56AM
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This is my firs posting and I can see this is an old discussion but will try. I am also fighting the yellow bugs on my hoya. My fault for keeping it outside whjile we were living in a rental while we built a new house. My hoya is large and old. I started it from one leaf from my mother-in-law almost 40 years ago. It has never had bugs until a year ago. I have been fighting these yellow bugs on the new growth for the past year. I am going to try the alcohol treatment with water bath (insecticidal soap did not work in long term). I see that Amazon has Bayer Tree & Schrub on its website but it also has an Bayer insectide for aphids etc. Has anyone tried that?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2014 at 1:44PM
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