Ask a Question forum→Help identifying an insect on an umbrella plant

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Wales, United Kingdom
Salofrse
May 21, 2020 1:41 PM CST
Hello all,

I'm new here and fairly new to plants, gardening etc.

I have an indoor umbrella plant bought from a supermarket in the UK about 6 weeks ago, deeply watered every 2 weeks, around 8ft from a south facing window.

I've noticed some stunted, deformed, and twisted leaves which made me think of pests and I found one suspicious looking insect and one area of Web-like structure close by, but when looking at spider mites, aphids, mealy bugs etc online they look quite different, so can anyone help with identifying it? (The body seems to have two sections and I can only count 6 legs).

Also do you think the leaf deformaties could be related to the pest or something else?


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(updated pic of insect and body parts that I can see)
Thumb of 2020-05-22/Salofrse/6f6875

[Last edited by Salofrse - May 21, 2020 6:39 PM (+)]
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Plant Identifier Raises cows Roses Farmer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
porkpal
May 21, 2020 5:10 PM CST
Mealy bugs, I believe.
Porkpal
Wales, United Kingdom
Salofrse
May 21, 2020 6:16 PM CST
porkpal said:Mealy bugs, I believe.


Thank you for your answer Porkpal. In my picture gallery I think the pic of the insect is clearer, I can see individual body parts, namely a head, thorax and six legs (well I can see 3 on the one side, so I assume there's another 3 the other), I've labeled the parts individually to see if others may be able to see what I'm seeing.

Whenever I've looked at Mealybugs online they seem to have one sectioned bodies with many scales and many legs, this insect doesn't look like that at all

Let me know if there's anyway to upload a better quality pic than what I'm attaching to this reply or whether you can see what I'm seeing lol

Thank you once again for your answer.
Lou


(the insect)
Thumb of 2020-05-22/Salofrse/d15288

(compared to my Google results of a Mealybug)
Thumb of 2020-05-22/Salofrse/f9b85e

[Last edited by Salofrse - May 21, 2020 6:22 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2246984 (3)
Name: sumire
Reno, Nevada (Zone 6a)
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sumire
May 21, 2020 6:19 PM CST
I agree
Mealy bugs.
www.sumiredesigns.com
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 21, 2020 6:24 PM CST
Mealybugs plus nests. Lucky you! You can spray your plant with alcohol to kill them (then rinse them off). Watch for more.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Wales, United Kingdom
Salofrse
May 22, 2020 2:45 PM CST
DaisyI said:Mealybugs plus nests. Lucky you! You can spray your plant with alcohol to kill them (then rinse them off). Watch for more.


Hi Daisyl, thank you for your input. I did a bit more research and found that mealybugs leave a sticky honeydew on the leaves, whilst looking with more light I found some very fine webs and a tiny spider, still haven't found any honeydew though. So I'm so confused, as online pics of mealybug searches aren't bringing any resemblance to what I'm finding Confused

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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 22, 2020 3:27 PM CST
Salofrse said:
Hi Daisyl, thank you for your input. I did a bit more research and found that mealybugs leave a sticky honeydew on the leaves, ...


No they don't

Salofrse said:
whilst looking with more light I found some very fine webs and a tiny spider,


So you have mealybugs and a tiny spider

Salofrse said:
So I'm so confused, as online pics of mealybug searches aren't bringing any resemblance to what I'm finding Confused


Look up "Mealybug nest." I would treat them soon. Mealybugs have a very short life cycle.

The treatment for most bug infestations is the same: Insecticidal Soap or alcohol. So, even if you aren't convinced its mealybugs, are you willing to wait until you are satisfied with the answer before you do something?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Wales, United Kingdom
Salofrse
May 23, 2020 6:30 AM CST
DaisyI said:

No they don't



So you have mealybugs and a tiny spider



Look up "Mealybug nest." I would treat them soon. Mealybugs have a very short life cycle.

The treatment for most bug infestations is the same: Insecticidal Soap or alcohol. So, even if you aren't convinced its mealybugs, are you willing to wait until you are satisfied with the answer before you do something?



No need to be rude, and never assume, where did I say I haven't treated it yet? I sprayed with this (pictured) the day after noticing them (as it said on it that it helped with most bug issues Thumb of 2020-05-23/Salofrse/54dc3d
Thumb of 2020-05-23/Salofrse/235264
Then I inspected it the following day with some more light and noticed the Webs + spider (so whether the some webs weren't broken when I sprayed it or they were able to form new ones quickly I'm unsure), I plan to spray it every 3 days until I see nothing new then add an extra few treatments to make sure, as well as treating two near-by plants just in case, as it's been near them the whole time (I now know to always quarentine new plants).

This is where I read about the honeydew on leaves from mealybugs
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I've looked up mealybug nests and nymphs, they're nests seem to be dense, fluffy and cotton looking. Mine seemed like just very fine webbing (not saying they were, just saying what it looked like compared to the pic results for mealybug nests) none of the online pic results resemble what I'm seeing for the nest or the nymph (doesn't have as many legs, has noticeable body sections, head and a pointy abdomen are the most clear parts compared to a mealybug with a soft oval shape and many scales and legs)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 23, 2020 7:43 AM CST
I don't think you have a pest problem. The leaf deformities in your original phots were not caused by any pests. If you have found only a single critter, that is not a cause for concern. A live mealybug infestation would be more visible to you and there would definitely be sticky honeydew found on some leaf surfaces.

The webbing in the photo you posted is normal house spider webbing and not spider mite webs.
Your Schefflera arboricola looks very healthy.

FYI - The Wilko product you are using is moderately toxic and carries a Warning label. It is broad-spectrum and includes a fungicide. There are safer, non-toxic treatments for indoor pests that are very effective and much less toxic. But in the absence of a specifically identified pest problem, it is best not to use anything.

Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
[Last edited by WillC - May 23, 2020 7:53 AM (+)]
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Wales, United Kingdom
Salofrse
May 23, 2020 10:00 AM CST
WillC said:I don't think you have a pest problem. The leaf deformities in your original phots were not caused by any pests. If you have found only a single critter, that is not a cause for concern. A live mealybug infestation would be more visible to you and there would definitely be sticky honeydew found on some leaf surfaces.

The webbing in the photo you posted is normal house spider webbing and not spider mite webs.
Your Schefflera arboricola looks very healthy.

FYI - The Wilko product you are using is moderately toxic and carries a Warning label. It is broad-spectrum and includes a fungicide. There are safer, non-toxic treatments for indoor pests that are very effective and much less toxic. But in the absence of a specifically identified pest problem, it is best not to use anything.



Thank you for your answer WillC, your opinion is very much appreciated, this is the nest looking thing that was close by
Thumb of 2020-05-23/Salofrse/dd4b9a

Yes the plant looks very healthy overall, it was just the deformities that made me take a closer look at the plant, but I have also found little brown speck on a leaf plus the tip looks a bit white?:
Thumb of 2020-05-23/Salofrse/8863e9
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Also does this look like anything to you Thumb of 2020-05-23/Salofrse/52179c

If none of the above looks worrisome then it'll put my mind at ease..


Thank you for pointing out the spray I'm using is moderately toxic, for future reference is there anything you'd recommend that treat a wide range of pests?

Really appreciate your expertise and help.
Lou
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 23, 2020 10:05 AM CST
Salofrse said:
No need to be rude, and never assume, where did I say I haven't treated it yet?


Sorry, I'm not trying to be rude but sometimes I do get frustrated.

PS: The twisted leaves could be caused by a lack of humidity or enough moisture in the soil when they were opening. The white fuzzy things, I still believe to be mealybugs. Honeydew is not what you first notice about mealybugs. If they were aphids, yes.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
[Last edited by DaisyI - May 23, 2020 10:17 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2248743 (11)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 23, 2020 1:14 PM CST
What is visible in the photos is hard to identify positively. If you are not seeing much of it, then I doubt it is a problem. I would expect a significant pest problem to be more widespread and more easily identifiable.

To be on the safe side, spray and wipe all leaf and stem surfaces with a mixture of 5 parts water, 1 part alcohol, and a squirt of liquid soap.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Wales, United Kingdom
Salofrse
May 23, 2020 2:53 PM CST
WillC said:What is visible in the photos is hard to identify positively. If you are not seeing much of it, then I doubt it is a problem. I would expect a significant pest problem to be more widespread and more easily identifiable.

To be on the safe side, spray and wipe all leaf and stem surfaces with a mixture of 5 parts water, 1 part alcohol, and a squirt of liquid soap.


Perfect, will do that. What strength alcohol should be used? Spirits 40%, Isopropyl 70% or isopropyl 99 %

Thank you
Lou
[Last edited by Salofrse - May 23, 2020 3:27 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2249106 (13)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 23, 2020 5:10 PM CST
70% isopropyl diluted 1 to 5 with water.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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