Mealies & cross-contamination

ohmybloomers(7a)September 7, 2012

Hi all,

I noticed the beginnings of a mealy infestation on a hoya I got recently (rooted cutting). I picked off the fuzz (didn't see any actual bugs, just the telltale fuzz) and rushed it and its three neighbors into the kitchen sink, where I sprayed it with a fairly high concentration of Dawn and water on every plant and soil surface. I also removed the tendril that had the fuzz, since it was rotting (which is what clued me in to the mealies in the first place - the rest of the plant is healthy).

So my many questions are:

(1) What will happen to the awesome aerial roots these plants were developing now they've been sprayed with soap - anything? A couple of them were beginning to root in the sphagnum they were sitting in, which I found amazing and encouraging... so will I lose these roots?

(2) Should I take them out of their pots, wash all the soil off the roots, and re-pot?

(3) Should I treat the plants on the shelves that were above and below these plants? There's a barrier between the shelves of not only shelves, but the bottoms of plastic mini-greenhouses.

(4) I'm concerned about cuttings I recently got from Joni that were on the shelf above the "infested one" - they have just started rooting. They all look clean now, and I'm afraid if I treat them with anything at all that they're too fragile right now to survive. Am I right or wrong on that? They all seem pretty robust right now.

(5) I assume I should dump the sphagnum moss that I had the plants sitting on in the mini-greenhouse?

(6) Is dish soap and water alone going to be enough to do it, or should I try a full frontal chemical assault?

(7) Anything else I should know?

Thank you, as always, for your awesome responses! You are quickly turning me from a nervous hoya newbie into a confident hoya parent!

Lesley "OMB"

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Mealies are tenacious things so you will need to keep a close eye on your plants. I would reccomended using a soap instead of Dawn which is a detergent. Detergents are harsher than soaps and can damage delicate plants. Palmolive is a nice gentle soap that is easy to find.

It sounds like you found a mealy bug egg mass. I would suggest using a soapy water spray to spray all of the Hoyas that were in the area. Spray several times over a week or two. The male Mealies are tiny white flying insects who search for the stationary females. You probably have a small population or just a female that had laid eggs.

Be vigilant and watch the new growth for the crawler stage of the young mealies. The young are very small so you have to look closely.

The roots of your plant should be just fine. Also don't worry about reporting at this time.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 2:11PM
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I agree with everything Mike said. For the soap I use palmolive or sunlight dish liquid the least harsh out there. And vigilance is the key, making sure you saturate the Hoya with the spray of soap and water and recheck in a few days. Also do not use a non bacterial or bleach containing soap. Ehow has some very good advice on controlling mealies. To me they are easier to conquer than scale. ~ Mary

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 4:03PM
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