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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any suggestions? It's a mini Phalaenopsis and my wife's first orchid. I've tried everything, the little bastards seem to keep on coming out of the leaf nodes. I've used alcohol swabs, bleach solution dips, a natural pesticide (forgot the name) and they worked only temporarily. I'm keeping it separate so I don't infest My other plants...

Jake
 

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Unpot it, bleach the root zone as well if you want to try one more time to save it. But really you should burn it. Mealy is the devil. There's some nasty sprays out there that work, but they can kill your plant too
 

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I have had good luck with horticultural soap. But if you dont get them all... they just keep coming. The issue with them is that the juveniles are so small that you cant see them. The fuzzy white ones are the adults, and at that point they arent mobile, juvinles are very mobile though and go all over. I have them in my house plants in my living room and cant seem to rid myself of them... I dont want to trash my plants though so hoping they can make it till summer when I can put them outside and let mother nature take care of my pest issue.
 

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I've used orthene to deal with them in the past, doing three sprays 7-10 days apart. Other than that, I haven't had much success in dealing with them. Though I did use some spinosad (sp) to deal with a persistent infestation of aphids, so you could give that a try if you rather not immediately use a systemic
 

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I have BT (bacillus thuriginensis) that I use to kill caterpillars outdoors. You could try that. Supposed to kill all leaf sucking and chewing insects. I havent tried it on mealy. Havent dealt with mealy in a few years
 

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Although I haven't used this particular product on indoor orchids, I have used it succesfully on all my outdoor plants, and it has gotten rid of my worst infestation of meally bugs. The trick to it though, is to be diligent and respray. If possible, dump the soil from the pot as well.

However, like I said I haven't used it on all orchids, so use with caution. I also would keep this plant as far away as possible from others because meally bugs spread easy and can contaminate others. Also, disinfect prunning equipment, etc.that comes in contact with this plant with alcohol. By the way, what kind of orchid?

This can usual be found at higher end garden centers such as Armstrong. Good luck! Alex

Dormant Oil Spray, Horticultural Oil Spray, Bonide All Season Spray Oil
 

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BT won't work on mealies...

Getting rid of pests is a multiple step process.

1) Don't buy plants with pests...
Failing 1,
2) Spray your plant liberally with rubbing alcohol
-this works for most orchids, you might want to test thin leaved plants
3) Unpot the plant - seriously. Mealies live in the root zone. You need to get as much of the old mix off as you can, spray the roots, and repot.
4) Whether you see bugs or not, spray your plant every 5 to 7 days for three weeks. Cover all surfaces. This is important as many pest eggs are resistant to pesticide.

People fail at step four. It just doesn't seem important to spray when you don't see pests. That is exactly the time you should spray.

For big collections, I recommend a combination of spinosad (a bacterial toxin) and azradachtin (or the correct spelling thereof), the active ingredient in neem oil. That has worked really well for me in the past, but you still have to spray three times. You should change your pesticides (natural or chemical) frequently to avoid selecting resistant bugs.

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I repotted the plant with completely new for fir bark, bleached and scrubbed the plastic pot, literally bathed the plant in pesticide, moved it to a different area, and they still showed up again. I'll try spraying it twice a week for several weeks I guess. The plant has sentimental value, so I really don't want to lose it. It actually seems fairly healthy, but I've had plants killed by these before. As to putting it outside, I live in a fifth floor apartment in Brooklyn, NY. No porch, verandah,whatever you call it. So putting it outdoors in the warmer months is not an option. Thanks guys.
Jake
 

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Yeah, the repeating at weekly intervals is probably more important than the choice of pesticide. One application is never enough. Unless you are applying flaming napalm, that usually fixes the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all your help guys, but the plant died... :(
It had been under control but suddenly exploded with bugs. I was using two sprays with different chemicals, alternating weekly. Can they develop a resistance??? I wrapped it in silverfoil and stuck it in the oven for several hours just in case...
 

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Sorry for your loss. I stopped keeping phals because of mealy bugs. My other orchids don't seem so prone to them.
 

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Oh yes, pest insects can develop resistance quickly. If you rotate pesticides, you need to rotate between different mechanisms of action. Different names on the pesticide bottle don't matter, it is different mechanisms of what is inside the bottle that really matters.
 

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Oh, and if you keep getting mealy bug on your prize plant, it is probably coming from some other plant that isn't showing the damage (and you aren't noticing). I've seen Ficus benjamina (the typical house 'Fig') just loaded with mealy bug, looked like snow. But nobody had noticed it but me, I don't know why.

Some plants are bug traps. Some species are more prone than others (phalaenopsis for me sometimes, but they will go for the paphiopedilums first). And even within species there are variations, I have seen bugs on some clones virtually all the time, and their neighbor clones are seemingly immune. I generally discard plants prone to pests, rather than fighting nature. Some plants you just have to keep though.
 

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Just an FYI for the future, I used to have a mealy infestation in all my orchid collection. Then last summer, I put them outside. I dipped the entire plant, substrate, and pot in a systemic pesticide. I think its bayer rose 3 in 1 or something like that. I made up a tub of it, and let each orchid soak for about 5 minutes, completely submerged so that it makes it into all the nooks and crannies. Drain, and repeat in 3 to 4 weeks. I didn't have any of my orchids die from this, and when I brought them in this winter, I was left with only one orchid with mealies. Sprayed that one wiht alcohol religiously on weekly basis for about 6 weeks. Haven't seen another mealy since around november. (except for 1 that I found in one of my tanks--but luckily they never took off in there, phew!)Also, make sure the surface you have them on and near has been cleaned really well. I used to have them hiding in the crevices of my rack!

Like frogparty said...Mealies really are the devil.
 

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Thanks for all your help guys, but the plant died... :(
It had been under control but suddenly exploded with bugs. I was using two sprays with different chemicals, alternating weekly. Can they develop a resistance??? I wrapped it in silverfoil and stuck it in the oven for several hours just in case...
lol, did you seriously roast it?

PS what sprays did you use?
 

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Sometimes you will see crippled flowers for a season (or a few) after that vigorous of a treatment. I'm not sure what is in the rose spray, but there are some that will do that. If that is what it takes, go for it, I guess. I like the spinosad/azaradactin combo I mentioned higher up, but bayer tree and shrub spray (imidocloprid) at 1oz/gallon is pretty good. I don't use the bayer stuff unless I absolutely have to, it has a fair amount of amphibian toxicity if I remember the label right. The spinosad is much safer. Actually most pesticides you can buy over the counter are pretty safe if you use them properly, although I still prefer to use as little as possible. Read the labels!

Just an FYI for the future, I used to have a mealy infestation in all my orchid collection. Then last summer, I put them outside. I dipped the entire plant, substrate, and pot in a systemic pesticide. I think its bayer rose 3 in 1 or something like that. I made up a tub of it, and let each orchid soak for about 5 minutes, completely submerged so that it makes it into all the nooks and crannies. Drain, and repeat in 3 to 4 weeks. I didn't have any of my orchids die from this, and when I brought them in this winter, I was left with only one orchid with mealies. Sprayed that one wiht alcohol religiously on weekly basis for about 6 weeks. Haven't seen another mealy since around november. (except for 1 that I found in one of my tanks--but luckily they never took off in there, phew!)Also, make sure the surface you have them on and near has been cleaned really well. I used to have them hiding in the crevices of my rack!

Like frogparty said...Mealies really are the devil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
lol, did you seriously roast it?

PS what sprays did you use?
Yup. I was away for several days and when I came back the orchid was literally covered with the little f***ers. Plant was wilted. They dessicated it. I wanted to make sure they didn't spread... they didn't :D

I don't remember the brands. Different active ingredients.
 
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