Extreme Makeover: Hoya Edition!

moonwolf_gwAugust 12, 2014

Hi everyone,

At the strong urgance of GG, I gave a few of my plants a well needed bath to get rid of those dreaded mealies! It seems to be working as i saw some of the little jerks actually crawling away the day after the bath and i was spraying them liberally with the alcohol/dishsoap/water mixture (I still see a few, so I will have to spray again).

Nikki had it the worst. I took her out of the hanger she sits in, and sprayed it, too. It even got a bath when I dunked Nikki. They didn't drown, as they were nestled in parts of the hanger where it is knottted. The spray took care of that, thank goodness. Her leaves look so much better since getting the dirt/soil buildup off of them, and the best part is that I see some new growth appearing on the vines, and coming up from the base of the stems! Maybe I'll finally get some blooms from her next year! :)

I feel bad that i dropped the ball, so to speak, on keeping an eye on the mealies. I just hope that this counterattack works and they stay away for a good while. Well, until i get the new cuttings GG is sending me, anyway. I would hate for these guys to get infested, too.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

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What? No before and after photos?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 2:23PM
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Unfortunately, no. My camera's USB cable is acting up, so no pictures from me for a while. My laptop won't let me on GW, but our old desktop and mum's tablet will. So, I've had to make do. Maybe when I'll have a visit with my theatre friends, they'll snap some pictures for me and then I can share them.

If you really wanna be creeped out, I saw a couple of them moving around on my plants and fungii's trellis and immeiately killed them. It didn't make my skin crawl, but I was rather frustrated by the sight of them all.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 4:32PM
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That's wonderful, Brad. Just remember that the dunking is really going to be your most effective strategy. Anything you weren't able to dunk probably still has mealies on it that you missed, so you need to keep your eyes sharp over the next few weeks and not allow the colony to rebuild.

Mealies are such an emotional drain on us. I know if I have to treat a plant, part of me will want to avoid it the next week, because I don't want to see those little mealie faces. But, then, when you fix the problem and your plant perks up, you feel like such a freaking hero. It's awesome.

You're safe now, carnosa. No, ma'am, you don't need to do anything to thank me. I'm just doing my job. Oh alright, a little flower won't go amissâ¦

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:03AM
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Good for you, Brad! What was in the bath? Was it literally a bath where you dunked a plant, pot and all? I did that with a small Hoya compacta where directly hitting those buggers with a mister/sprayer is impossible because of all the nooks and crannies in the leaves. It was a bowl and not a bathtub because of the small plant size, but even then, I found it very messy - the soil wants to escape in all possible directions. But it needed to be done.

> I still see a few, so I will have to spray again

Repeat the same thorough treatment a few times every week, EVEN AFTER you do not see any mealies. This is very important because their reproductive cycle includes stages where they are not harmed by soap/alcohol and whatever else you are giving them. If any of those did not happen to be removed mechanically (some may hang on, even if you are very thorough), then they breed and survive - that is why you need to hit them weekly several times.

> I feel bad that i dropped the ball, so to speak, on keeping an eye on the mealies.

Do not feel bad, it happens to most of us. Just do not be satisfied with half-measures (just one bath = a half-measure) and watch for those suckers and treat early if you see them again.

Have you tried BATS before? I just got some myself for the first time. There is a generic one that is like $5 cheaper - see this thread on BATS: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/hoya/msg0823503130218.html.

Best of luck beating these suckers!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 1:04PM
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Yes, all that is true about the reproductive cycle of mealies. Thanks so much for bringing up that point, GT.

Brad grows his Hoyas outdoors surrounded by his butterfly garden, so unfortunately I think BATS is not going to work for him.

But Brad, it bears mentioning that if you did get backed into a corner and HAD to treat with BATS (afterward bringing your plants indoors,) the mealies would all die quickly, so they wouldn't be around to give the other people in your household the heebie-jeebies. You could even remove all peduncles, treat the Hoyas outdoors and, after a week, if you didn't see any mealies and didn't have to repeat the treatment, you could bring them indoors then. Treating with a systemic is a very quick and thorough process, versus soap, which involves much more time, effort, and potentially escaping mealies.

That said soap baths are 5,000% (totally accurate number) more thorough than just spraying the plant. They are not at all in the same category. Since you have that giant tub and are fortunately able to immerse the whole pot and hanger of a large plant, I would continue using this as your primary attack.

Bathing your plants several times a week might be too much to accomplish but you could continue to thoroughly spray them every few days, and then bathe them once a week if you continue to see mealies. Since your infestation was so severe, it might require some patience. :\

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:01PM
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Ah, outdoors! Yeah, try to avoid broad spectrum pesticides then if at all possible. (It should be possible with mealies.)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:11PM
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Thank you greentoe and GG!

I never knew there were periods where mealies weren't vulnerable to treatments. Since it is a nice day outside, I'm thinking that they may get another bath today or tomorrow. For now, I shall go examine my plants, and evualate them. Some of the plants that were dunked still have moist soil from the previous bath.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 5:35PM
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I ended up bathing my plants yet again today. They look better and better each time I do it!

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:02PM
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Wonderful!!! That is so much work. I am really proud of you. They should be okay with double-dunk since they are getting good light and airflow outside.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:14PM
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A double-dunk has never hurt anybody, and it probably zapped some extra mealies, but consider this, Brad.

Let's say mealies stay in their impervious state for 7 days and then take another 7 days to sexual maturity (hypothetically - I do not remember the exact times, but it should be close to this - might be 5 days.) If you give them the second bath too soon - some of those that were impervious the first time still laugh in your face because it still does nothing to them. You wait too long, and they had enough time to create more of their disgusting little babies - now you have more bodies to potentially miss and leave behind at next bath time.

You can't be willy-nilly - put the treatments on your calendar and then follow through on the day, every time. Giving them a bath early just basically extends the calendar of necessary treatments further into the future, and giving it to them late restarts the whole calendar because they might have bred.

Sorry to be a hoya bathing party pooper, but this understanding is essential for effective treatment.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:18PM
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It is good info, not pooping. I don't remember the mealie timeline either. We should get out our Google and create an ultimate mealie strategy thread with all the data. But as with all things, that must wait till after this weekend (for me)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 12:58PM
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I agree with GG, it is good info!!! Let's see, I gave the first bath last Saturday and the second bath was on Wednesday, so that's 4 days apart. I'll look over them again today, and give them a spritz.

I sprayed Nikki's hanger again yesterday. It was all clear except for a few places where the hanger is knotted (it's a green macrame one I bought at Goodwill a few years ago). That's where there were some small clusters of mealies (I can hear some of you now-yuck!) were at and I sprayed them.

As for BATS, my neighbor has it in Rose and Flower (I was watering her flowers today and checked where she said she had the bottle). So much for that option.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 1:42PM
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