nasty bugs on Hibiscus and ???? plant

muckpukDecember 11, 2007

I've recently bought some Hibiscus and ????( If anyone knows the name of this plant,thank you very much).I live in Phuket Thailand. The Hibiscus that are standing on the drive way are healthy looking and have no problems. But the Hibiscus and the ??? all have nasty white bugs on them. The leaves drop of, the plant gets bold and dead looking, and some of the leaves curl up with fine white threads of stuff around them and tiny little black bug (or white bugs eggs) inside them. See the pictures.

I do not want them around anymore!!!!! Everytime my Hibiscus makes a flower it drops off the next day. Thank god it still makes them. I suppose that is a good sign. I've tried blasting them of with the waterhoze, but thet seem to like it and come back for more( it is very hot here now!). Also my mother is here and recomended some green soap with water, but I've also have to find something that is easily found here. I've read somewhere to put banana leaves in the soil. And I've done that 4 days ago. I suppose that still has to rot but I see up untill now no improvement.

Does anyone have a good idea?

PLease keep in mind that going to the nursery and having a long conversation with someone there is out of the question as I do not speak Thai yet, and they don't really speak english (yet)

Please throw all kind of advice my way, I'll try them all or at least the ones that seem to make sence.

Thank you all

These are on my Hibiscus:

And these on the plant I do not know the name from:

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Mealybug is your pest

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 8:16AM
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Mealybugs are a major pest of Hibiscus in the USA and the most recommended means of control is to allow biological methods to work, parasites, and that means not spraying any broad spectrum poisons around that would kill the predators and not harm the mealybugs at all. Some few haroticulturists are still recommmending spraying with superior horticultural oils, although most have even backed away from that because those oils tend to do more harm to the plant than even the mealybug. You can prune off the parts of the plant infested, double bag those plant parts, and trash them.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 10:48AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Where on earth did you ever hear that, Kimmsr? Horticultural oils are a primary tool in the integrated control of serious pest infestations. However, their use CAN cause problems on some plants when the temperatures are high.

If I remember from your past postings, muckpuck, you have a real challenge in locating commonly used products where you are living and have to rely on home remedies. Am I remembering that correctly? What kinds of pest control products do you have on hand? What have you used in the past?

Your other plant looks, to my eyes, like Lantana, but I'd have to see that flower a bit better to make sure.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 1:10PM
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Thanxs for your response!
Yes you remember correctly. It is a challenge.
If I know exactly what to get I might be able to go to a "nursery" and ask for it, but as I'm a novice, I do not even know what to ask for in the first place! So that also answers your questions:
-What kinds of pest control products do you have on hand? -What have you used in the past?
I have not used any pestcontrol in the past as this is my first time in possesion of time,money and space to be able to garden.
Cutting of the infested parts of the plant seem like a real hardcore solution. Is that really necessary????

Oh here is a picture of the other plant. It still isn't brilliant but I hope you can see the flowers enough to identify it?!


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 1:06AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Yep, it's lantana.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 2:18AM
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Rhizo, I heard "that" from the University of California, University of Florida, University of Connecticut, and numerous other places.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 8:40AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Kimmsr, I was talking about your comment regarding the horticultural oil causing more harm to plants than the pest. Not when used according to label directions. And that 'most' have stopped using it? NOT! ;-)

Truthfully, muckpuk....your plants appear to be small enough that I'd also suggest a very hard pruning. Prune them most of the way back to the soil level and discard those infested branches. That will allow you to keep close watch on all of the new growth, and remove the pests as you see them. Rather than 'hard core', it's a very effective solution to a difficult problem. Your plants will quickly grow back, and more than likely look much better than ever. Indeed, I think that you will be hugely pleased with the results.

In cooler temperatures, you could try the horticultural oil on the stems and branches, but such products may cause problems for your plants when it is as hot as you say. Insecticidal soaps would also be something worthwhile having in your cupboard. Both of these products, when used properly, are effective in controlling many pest species with little collateral damage to beneficials.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 10:11AM
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"although most have even backed away from that because those oils tend to do more harm to the plant"


Please post a link or links to the areas you "heard" this about superior oils. Are these the same sites you "heard" about whiteflies????


    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 12:20PM
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I can certainly empathize with muckpuk as we live in neighbouring Southeast Asian countries. Most gardeners here have never even heard of horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps, much less used them. I'm assuming he is facing a similar (or perhaps even more dire) situation as I am when it comes to "exotic" gardening products. The only insecticidal soap available here is manufactured by Yates, and is prohibitively expensive for all but the most serious gardeners. I would gladly courier some bottles to you if you require, though I'm not sure how much you would have to pay for postage fees :)

As for kimmsr's "claim", I too have experienced leaf damage due to the application of oils, though I suspect it has more to do with our searing tropical temperatures (often in excess of 30 Celsius) rather then the oils themselves.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 4:33AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Yes, it always bears repeating that these products need to be used correctly. We need to remind ourselves to re-read the directions to make sure that we are mixing correctly, that the temperatures are safe, and that the plant material we are intending to spray isn't on the 'do not apply' list!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 9:49AM
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For temporary relief, I would suggest blasting the critters with a water hose. I have found this to be quite effective since mealybugs tend to be relatively immobile. It is much less effective, however, in the presence of herding insects such as ants, which will simply pick up the fallen bugs and carry them back up the plant again :P

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 10:09PM
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Muckpuck, I get these sometimes, I mostly get the lovely fan-tail mealy-bugs, but they die the same way.

1. You can remove the eggs with your fingers, just squish it up..same with the adults, they do hop though sometimes when you go to squish them..and they hop far, so be expecting that, lol.

2. Use a couple drops of liquid dish soap in a spray bottle of water..(everywhere I read says a couple drops, but I give a good lil squirt, and have never harmed my plants) Anyway, shake it up, spray it on them and they will die, try to spray gently and close to them. They will instantly die. The soapy water will not harm your plants at all, but if you are nervous about it you can always hose it off after each application. Do the soapy water every 3 or 4 days for 2-3 weeks, your lil buggers will be gone. You want to do it this long so you stop the life cycle. If there are eggs that you missed and they hatch, you will get them at the next application. If you get more later on, repeat the process. This works on any soft bodied lil bugger.

3. This one isnt so easy, lol. Dab a Q-tip in alchohol and just touch it to the mealy-bug NOT the plant. This is more of a remedy for if you just have a couple, not an infestation.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 11:40PM
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muckpuk, there is a Phuket Provincial Agriculture Office,
Narisorn Rd.,
A. Muang,
Phuket 8300.
Telephone: 076 212 188.
They should be able to advise you on your mealy bug problem.
Caution! You may still be able to obtain and use chemicals which have proven to be injurious to human health and the total environment. Please obey all the label instructions.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.
(Tsunami memories notwithstanding).

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 8:56AM
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Wauw I didn't expect to find more responses. Xmas past and so my Bday and then I decided to check just for fun. Thanx. for the great new tips, and adres!!!
I just mixed some dishwasher soap in a sprayiething and will start as soon as my coffee is finished.
What is interesting is that in the meantime Khun Uncle ( one of the local neighbours who is aparently great with plants and given us 5 banana plants but doesn't speak a word of english) has been looking at my plant, unrolling some of the leaves, finding little caterpillars in it and when I pointed at the white thing he said KAI. Which I knoe means eggs, and he pointed back at the caterpillar and made butterfly movements! So I would conclude that the white things are eggs of caterpillars (which does not make sense to me as they seem to be very un egg like) or that I have to different infestations. We will see, time will tell.
I'll try this now and hope for the best.
We do have wonderfull butterflies though.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 12:22AM
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Do a web search for current information about insect pest control. Terms such as Mealy Bugs will get you the same information I have.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 7:50AM
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