The Q&A Archives: Orchid Pests

Question: My phalenopsis orchids have strange furryish white bugs on and under the leaves and against the stems. They also have some little brownish flies. Are these bugs related? What can I do to get rid of them (preferably organic)?

Answer: The pests are not related, but have an equal affinity for orchids and their environment. The white insects are probably mealybugs. These little sucking insects have a cottony-looking substance covering them. You can remove them by dabbing them off with the end of a moistened cotton swab. The little flies can be either fungus gnats or fruit flies. They are both attracted to decaying organic matter and are especially fond of moist potting soil. Since your orchids require moisture and humidity, the flies will be difficult to control. If you can place a layer of decorative pebbles over the compost in the pot, you may be able to deter the pests.

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