Pest Prevention.

tonyzhangAugust 12, 2012

Hello, I've recently discovered tiny brown pests on my Dieffenbachia plant along with some tiny white pods or balls.I first wiped down the leaves, and then sprayed the leaves thoroughly with a mix of equal parts, water, alcohol, and vegetable oil along with a pump of soap. The next day, I gave my plant a thorough check and there were no evidence of any pests! But the spray has left the leaves with a oily shine. It has been 3 days now, and my question is, will the oil on the leaves interfere with the plants photosynthesis? I don't want to wipe off all the oil because I've read that the oil is meant to suffocate the bugs. Any help is wonderful. Thanks!

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To suffocate an insect oil must get on the insect and cover it. Oil left on a plants leaves will not do that, although it may prevent the leaf from photosynthesizing by blocking sunlight. The alcohol in that mix can do more harm to your plants then the insects.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 7:24AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

where did you come up with that witches brew???

did you ever get a full ID of the actual pest ...

if you wiped them all off.. why did you need to then spray ????

is the plant outdoors for summer???? .. you may have accomplished the same thing with a good hosing down ... skipping the oil ...

what i am getting at.. is that you went full bore nuclear on them.. PERHAPS skipping much less invasive solutions.. had you actually known what was on the plant ...

i have a few plants outdoors for summer.. its getting about time.. for a systemic application to the soil .. outdoors.. so that they can come into the house .. bug free in fall ... i am going to guess.. you are organic.. based on your brew ... so be it ...

welcome to GW ...


    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 1:33PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The next time that you notice critters on your houseplants, take pictures first. By posting them here, or in the very active Houseplant Forum, you can have an accurate identification.

Vegetable oil, especially when used in that kind of ratio does your plant no good at all. Not by blocking sunlight, but by clogging the breathing (gas exchange pores (stomata) . Horticultural oils do a great job of smothering a variety of houseplant pests, as well as their nymphs and eggs and are recommended for use on houseplants, but not a kitchen oil out of the bottle. You want something very light, mixable with water, and that allows a plant to breathe. I suggest that you purchase a small bottle of commercial horticultural oil and use it according to label directions.

Alcohol is extremely popular for controlling pests on houseplants. Many people use it full strength while others find that one part alcohol to three or four parts water. It's used to control spider mites, mealy bugs, white fly, scale crawlers. I'd not mix the alcohol with anything else.

I don't see any reason for the dish soap at all. Truthfully, such a combination of ingredients, in that ratio, could cause problems. No more vegetable oil applications, ok?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 4:14PM
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