Ask a Question forum: What is this fuzzy?

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Name: Cindy
Wisconsin
CynthiaGaddie
Jun 30, 2016 11:36 AM CST
What is this fuzzy white jumping bug, is it harmful? Best way to get rid of them?

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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jun 30, 2016 11:41 AM CST
That is a mealybug. Get a cottonswab soaked with alcohol and wipe them away. Check under the leaves and along leaf joints. Do it while the plant is not in direct sun.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 30, 2016 12:14 PM CST
It looks like a planthopper nymph, see especially the second image on this page. Do they seem to be doing much damage?

http://bugoftheweek.com/blog/2013/1/9/junes-snowfall-plantho...

Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 30, 2016 12:52 PM CST
I agree with Sue. Never seen a mealybug with legs or one that hops.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Jun 30, 2016 3:42 PM CST
Hi Cindy. Welcome to NGA! Welcome!

If it is an outdoors plant, and fairly sturdy, you might be able to knock a lot of them off with a hard, fine water spray. The "Mist" setting on a hand-held hose sprayer might be enough. If not, try the "flat spray" setting, if it is not so hard that it blasts pieces of the plant right off the stems. A couple of irrigation "mini=jet sprayers" run at full city-water-pressure ought to be effective without ripping leaves off.

It makes sense to knock as many off as you can, before you go about poisoning or hand-picking them.

(P.S. If the plant is outdoors, and you can keep them from eating it to death for a few weeks, they may attract predatory insects that will cheerfully eat them all up for you.)

Try to get under the leaves and spray upwards to knock off hiding ones, or egg masses if there are any.

One advantage of the water-spray method is that it is as non-toxic as anything gets.

For buggy house plants, I have heard people talking about taking the plant into the shower stall and using the shower to spray bugs off leaves. Harrumph! All I know is that trying to bottom-water seedling trays in my tub totally clogged the drain and made me send for a plumber! What I READ says "cover the soil in the pot with your hand", but maybe they are talking about well-coordinated people!


You might also experiment with "generic" home-made bug sprays like alcohol+soapy-water. "Insecticidal soap" is a real thing - they say it's the fatty acids in soap that kill the insects.

Here are some recipes I've seen online. Your mileage may very. I see a range in soap concentration from 2 tsp/gallon up to 6 tblsp (18 tsp!) per gallon.

BTW, several people make the point that store-bought insecticidal soap is always SOAP, not detergent.
And I saw this somewhere online: "Many detergents are also insecticidal (not all) but might harm plants".

1.
2-6 tblsp of baby shampoo per gallon of water (which seems like a LOT of soap to me!)

or

2.
Soapy water spray: ½ tsp “dish soap” per Quart (2 tsp/gallon)


3. aphid spray:
http://garden.org/ideas/view/plantladylin/394/Make-Your-Own-...
To 1 gallon of water, add:
2 tbsp. Murphy's Oil Soap,
2 tbsp. vegetable oil, and (maybe this is imitating Neem oil??)
2 tbsp. isopropyl alcohol.


4. Homemade oil spray:
- two tablespoons of cooking oil
- two tablespoons of baby shampoo
- one gallon of water.
- optionally + one cup of alcohol to help penetrate the insect’s shell. (Note that this is a LOT of alcohol. Like 1:16)


P.S. If the plant is indoors, it is certainly proving an attractive home to SOME bugs, and I assume they are breeding on it, multiplying their numbers. When (or if) they kill the plant they're on, they will move to whatever is nearby. You might consider quarantining it in a different room until you've seen NO bugs for a week or three. If you can put it outside, it might attract whatever eats that kind of bug.

Or seal it tightly in plastic and put it into the garbage. It depends on how much you like THIS plant, and how much you like all your other plants combined.



Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 30, 2016 5:09 PM CST
According to the article I linked to above by a professor of entomology they don't usually do enough damage to merit treatment.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 30, 2016 5:50 PM CST
It's a type of Anormenis. Just spray them off with the water hose.
http://www.walterreeves.com/insects-and-animals/plant-hopper...
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
Beekeeper Houseplants Region: Tennessee
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plantcollector
Jun 30, 2016 6:53 PM CST
@RickCorey I have been wanting to make insecticidial soap for a while now. Thanks for doing my homework for me.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jun 30, 2016 7:07 PM CST
That's what we do: answer the question not asked. Smiling

If you do your dishes in a basin, you can carry it outside every evening and toss it over a different plant.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 1, 2016 2:40 PM CST
Heath, I would love to know what concentrations you start with, and whether you decide to make it stronger or weaker after seeing results.

My guess is that different bugs have different amounts of resistance. And that different kinds of soap have more or less potency against insects.

I have read that different plants have differing amounts of tolerance for Hydrogen Peroxide.

Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Jul 1, 2016 5:02 PM CST
Now if that were me, I would check that detergent/ soap if it contains Sodium or Potassium. Potassium is fine, but too much Sodium is not that great for plant growth. One might want to read up on soaps.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 1, 2016 5:38 PM CST
Good point, especially if you're spraying gallons of the stuff from a backpack sprayer, not just spritzing a few leaves with a little hand-held spray bottle.

Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
Beekeeper Houseplants Region: Tennessee
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plantcollector
Jul 1, 2016 9:51 PM CST
I don't plan on using that much of it I just have a few plants during the winter that get mealy bugs and aphids all over it.

Rick thanks again for all the different recipes. When I try them out I will let you know but it will probably be a while. Unless I have a real bad infestation I don't usually use anything on my plants during the summer when there outside. When I bring them inside that's a whole new ballgame.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 6, 2016 12:10 PM CST
Good luck, Heath! I would love to know where you settle within that wide range of concentrations.

Name: 🌺
(Zone 6b)
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SpringGreenThumb
Jul 6, 2016 12:13 PM CST
I put cider vinegar and dish soap in a water mixture and sprayed my raspberry leaves and apple leaves. It killed the Aphids and hoppers but now the leaves I sprayed on both tree and bush are crunching up.
Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Jul 6, 2016 12:19 PM CST
Vinegar can be used as an herbicide. It's definitely not an insecticide.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jul 6, 2016 12:35 PM CST
I used vinegar/dish soap to kill unwanted blackberry brambles. I'd never use that solution on desirable plants.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"

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