Tiny roundish brown bugs
Yesterday, while watering plants, I picked up a dry drip saucer to rinse it off and noticed a bunch of uniform specks spreading out from the center of the saucer--right where the hole in the bottom of its terracotta pot had been. Because of the uniformity of the specks, I took a closer look. They were moving...slowly...but each was so small that I could see no detail.
My magnifier is a loup-like stamp glass (i.e., for philatelists) with a 3x, 4x, and 5x lens. With all three lenses layered together I was just able to see that these buggies were oval (but almost round), appeared to have six legs evenly spaced around and barely peeking out from under their (possibly beetle-like) bodies. They appeared to be dark brown--either shiny or possibly with a light spot near the posterior.
There were about a hundred little guys in a 1 inch diameter space, and they were so small that it would have taken three or four to make up a period in a standard paperback novel. My poor camera would have given you less detail than you have here.
I sprayed the bottoms and media surfaces of this plant and its parent plant with alcohol and then drenched with a newly made up soapy concoction as a kind of first aid which would (I hoped) be harmless to the parent, a Phalaenopsis orchid, one day before blooming.
The reason I care is that these two plants began to fail at the end of last summer (leaves successively lost turgidity and died). After a close inspection revealed no pests, I attributed their decline to an extreme incompatibility with their mixed bark medium. After I removed, cleaned and root trimmed the Phals and put them into NZ Sphagnum moss, they both gave an almost audible sigh of relief and grew like gangbusters. When the parent plant produced Two (!) flower spikes, I couldn't bring myself to cut one in order to save the plant's strength.
Today, the parent plant bloomed, and it looks good and healthy. Still, those little buggies in the smaller plant's saucer are a nagging concern and I'd like to know what they are. Do they sound familiar to anyone here? Jean? Rhizo? Anyone? I'd appreciate your thoughts.
TIA and thank you for reading through this saga!