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White spittle-like problem

White spittle-like problem
Posted by Redoak from NY/5b on 2005-04-21 04:53:00

My African violets are being troubled by a white, dry pest that works its way up the plant taking out leaves by destroying the petiole and does the same with flowers. My several reference books have been of no help. I liken it to "spittle" but it is'nt. Please ID for me and suggest a control, if possible.
  • Mealybug
    Posted by Will Creed ( from NY on 2005-04-24 07:57:00

    If the white stuff looks like tiny specks of cotton, then the problem is mealybug.

    Mealybugs are hard to eradicate from AV's. I suggest that you use a solution of 1 part rubbing alcohol and 10 parts room temp water and a squirt of liquid soap to spray all leaf and stem surfaces thoroughly. After 30 minutes, rinse the entire plant with clear, room temperature water.

    Insiders' Plant Information

    • Mealybuug
      Posted by redoak from NY/5b on 2005-04-25 05:07:00

      Thanks for the "clue." I went to the "PestConrol Library" link and found the following: CONTROLS:
      "Controls include insecticidal soap and horticultural oil. Natural enemies include the mealybug destroyer (a kind of ladybug), lacewings, and mealybug parasite (a tiny wasp)."

      Your suggestions are easy to employ nand I will use them first.I have insecticidal soap on hand, so I can go that route, too, if necessary.

      Would a systemic insecticide be worth a try for the long term?

      Unfortunately (fortunately, too!), my violets are blooming, so 'dunking' them would be dileterious.

      • Mealybug
        Posted by Will Creed from NY on 2005-04-25 08:12:00

        Hi Redoak,

        The alcohol is a more effective active ingredient than the soap. However, the soap helps spread the alcohol so the combination is best. The key is getting complete coverage because the juvenile mealybugs are almost invisible.

        I am not a big fan of pesticides. However, you can use a systemic if the label lists mealybug. Imidacloprid (Merit/Marathon) is the most effective pesticide for mealybug and scale if you can get it. Use any pesticide very carefully and always follow the directions carefully.

        Will Creed, Interior landscaper
        Horticultural Help, NYC


        Insiders' Plant Information

        • Mealybug control
          Posted by redoak from NY/5b on 2005-04-26 04:45:00

          Thanks for the added advice. I am a long time, experienced gardener who had never run into mealybugs until this winter! Ugh!

          I recognize the need for caution with pesticides of all kinds.



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