Orchids forum: A murderous discussion on pest treatments

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Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jul 10, 2017 5:08 PM CST
Ursula said
I haven't used any Bayer stuff this Spring, right now I keep a spray bottle with Dr. Bronner castile soap around. So far we are doing ok.


Ursula, How do you mix the Dr. Bonner? I tried the recipe on the bottle and got no results.
[Last edited by Ursula - Jul 10, 2017 5:40 PM (+)]
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Name: Bill
Cape Coral FL (Zone 10a)
Region: United States of America Birds Cat Lover Orchids Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Butterflies
Adeniums Region: Florida Region: Gulf Coast
BigBill
Jul 10, 2017 5:27 PM CST
Ursula, maybe we need to start a thread on treatment of pests with our orchids. Could there be some value in that or is there a thread that I am not aware of already?
"Our children are messages we send to a time we won't see."
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 10, 2017 5:27 PM CST

Moderator

Carol, at a show I copied this sign at a table where they sold this stuff. But I have never added the Isopropyl alcohol and I use only one tablespoon /32 ozs. It worked just fine, good enough to gently wipe and rinse the dead guys off. 3 tablespoons /quart seemed a bit excessive to me.
Thumb of 2017-07-10/Ursula/75aeaf

Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 10, 2017 5:29 PM CST

Moderator

Bill, we don't have a thread on that, definitely not recently. Yes, it might be a good idea, if you guys have a lot to add on that subject, sure!!
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 10, 2017 5:41 PM CST

Moderator

Please join in with your experiences on bug eradication, this is certainly a subject which can drive all of us buggy! Smiling
Name: Bill
Cape Coral FL (Zone 10a)
Region: United States of America Birds Cat Lover Orchids Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Butterflies
Adeniums Region: Florida Region: Gulf Coast
BigBill
Jul 10, 2017 6:01 PM CST
I thought that perhaps this might be an appropriate thread to start. We are all plagued by critters.
Personally I have not used a harsh chemical in almost 40 years! Yet, bugs are controlled pretty well in my collection. How you might be asking?
Almost 2 years ago, I started a monthly preventative program here in Florida. I got the idea from a speaker. The first weekend I use Neem Oil in a gallon and a half pump sprayer. I fill it with water, add a tsp. and a half of neem oil and a few drops of mild dish detergent. I spray everything in my collection. Up and down, over and under.
Results: I use to lose spikes to thrips quite often, now very rarely. No mealybugs or aphids at all. Spider
Mites are a thing of the past.
What got me upset one morning when I went outside, it looked as if some crazy clown had sprayed white cotton candy on my Catasetum leaves. It was webbing from false spider mites! It was horrible! That's when I started this monthly program. No more false spider mites, no mealys, no white scale. The bugs are in the run.
Neem is safe to use. It is a good control on bacterial and fungal problems as well!
Please feel free to use this post to inform the group of your own successes and failures as well as questions. Let's see where it takes us.
With young kids years ago and kittens, I could never think about dangerous chemicals. There just had to be a better way.
"Our children are messages we send to a time we won't see."
Name: Bill
Cape Coral FL (Zone 10a)
Region: United States of America Birds Cat Lover Orchids Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Butterflies
Adeniums Region: Florida Region: Gulf Coast
BigBill
Jul 10, 2017 6:19 PM CST
As a follow up, other club members have started doing the same thing. I have not had much in the way of feedback but their results should be similar.

Remember to spray early in the morning on a day without rainfall forecasted if possible.
I have used fans to help things dry out.
"Our children are messages we send to a time we won't see."
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jul 10, 2017 6:37 PM CST
I think we can all benefit from this thread. As a former licensed pesticide applicator, I'm well aware that the pests evolve much faster than the pesticides do. That means one needs to change up what you use before the beasties become immune to it. Outside the orchid shack, I rarely use anything but BT, because I don't want to kill the beneficials. So I am willing to try any home remedies that will work. Soft scale has been my worst problem with the orchids...until this year.
Thumb of 2017-07-11/ctcarol/9aafbe
This my Laelia Pacavia and a vanda that have been ravaged in the last week, and I'm open to any suggestions as to who done it, and how to stop it.

Name: Bill
Cape Coral FL (Zone 10a)
Region: United States of America Birds Cat Lover Orchids Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Butterflies
Adeniums Region: Florida Region: Gulf Coast
BigBill
Jul 10, 2017 6:52 PM CST
Any chance it is a snail or slug. A shiney slime trail should be visible.
Bush snails are way to small to do that much damage.
Ruling the above out the next chewing beasties that are suspects are grasshoppers or wood roaches.
It is a bit hard for me to see the damage clearly.
Go into the collection an hour after nightfall and look for the culprits, they should be out and about by then. Good luck!! Crossing Fingers!
"Our children are messages we send to a time we won't see."
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jul 10, 2017 7:06 PM CST
No, Bill. If you enlarge the photo, you can see the small holes at the base of the Vanda buds. I'm thinking bud worms, thrips, or something along those lines. I haven't been able to see any of whatever is doing it. Edited to add, we haven't seen a snail or slug here in several years due to the drought.
[Last edited by ctcarol - Jul 10, 2017 7:08 PM (+)]
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Name: Bill
Cape Coral FL (Zone 10a)
Region: United States of America Birds Cat Lover Orchids Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Butterflies
Adeniums Region: Florida Region: Gulf Coast
BigBill
Jul 10, 2017 7:10 PM CST
Well thrips suck the juices out of buds causing them to brown and shrivel quickly. Not borers to my knowledge.
Perhaps some type of nematode?
Anyone else have any ideas?
"Our children are messages we send to a time we won't see."
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 10, 2017 7:18 PM CST
Nice intro, Bill. I'm certainly with you on the use of the least toxic methods of keeping orchids healthy. Haven't used Neem in years but it might be time to buy some more. I also have a cat, and now four grandkids that visit regularly. I also like to think I'm not killing myself along with the bugs and fungi by spraying noxious stuff that will rain down on me, onto my patio and into my pool the next day when I'm not paying attention. But my use of non-toxic stuff goes way back to my Master Gardener training in 2002. We were even then advised to recommend to the public the mildest form of control available as a first step.

Nowadays, I'm still volunteering as a Master Gardener at the local elementary school garden where, of course we are growing everything organically. The only controls we use are soapy water for insects, baking soda/water for fungus control, and Bt for caterpillars if it's ever necessary. Thankfully we hardly ever have to use any of these methods because a class of 20 kids can eradicate an infestation of just about anything in 20 minutes or less just using their (gloved) hands.

I have a good friend and mentor living next door to me, having his Masters in Hort from UF. He was the County Extension agent and my teacher when I took the MG course in 2002, and one of his subsequent jobs was 3 years as a pesticide inspector for the State of Florida so his knowledge of all the available poisons is pretty extensive. He still keeps up to date as he now has a landscape pest control business. I think he may have saved my life last year when I asked him about using a product called Thio-Myl against the black rot fungus that does plague our orchids. He said "Yeah, that stuff will kill all the fungi but it will also kill you! Wear your Haz-Mat suit if you use it" Btw this stuff is also known as T-Methyl and Cleary's 3336 fungicide.

My orchids grow inside my pool cage for the most part. Many of them are hanging up in the top of the cage for good air circulation, and it's a vain hope that at least a few harmful bugs are kept at bay by the screening. But there's no doubt that thrips, spider mites and mealy bugs do get in. I'm using preventive approaches such as the yellow sticky traps extensively, as well as a regular spray of dormant oil when the weather is cool in winter, soapy water each month on everything, and a backup of a Spinosad-based insecticide if I see anything going on that needs immediate attention. My favorite is Cap't. Jack's Dead Bug Brew just because I like the name, and it is an organic approved insecticide for use on edibles so it's only going to kill the bugs, not the critters and people. So far this season I've had very little evidence of any insect activity except the ones trapped on the sticky traps. The Cap't Jack's is available online (Amazon) as a concentrate for considerably less money than you buy it at the big box stores for.

For fungus (which I also consider a "pest") I'm now using another organic-approved product called Actinovate every couple of weeks. Again, no sign so far of black spots, rust or other nasty spotty diseases. This stuff also works great on that rusty fungus my fig tree, daylilies, plumeria and cannas get in the humid weather. Best price is again on Amazon, 2oz. (56gm.) size gives me 5 gallons of spray.

Word of advice - don't buy any "organic" remedies unless you can first determine the active ingredients. Especially on Amazon there are a dozen different potions listed for sale for big dollars, and you really don't know what you're getting.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jul 10, 2017 7:35 PM CST
I may have to try the Cap't Jack's. I can get that at the local nurseries. I haven't found anything with Spinosad on the label. It may not be licensed in Ca., or I just haven't looked hard enough. I'm just really disgusted. Hard enough to bloom a vanda here, and I've had that Laelia for years. What ever it is got another orchid and an adenium (I think). I picked the damaged buds off the Adenium and sprayed it with BT. Now it looks ok. Crossing Fingers!
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 10, 2017 7:38 PM CST
Sorry Carol, cross-posted with you and Bill about your pest problem, as I was typing the long story above. Do try going outside with a flashlight and your magnifying glass, to see if you can see the miserable little beastie.

If not, I'd recommend you try the Cap't Jack's spinosad stuff as described above. It's my go-to currently for desperate times. Death to thrips, aphids, spider mites, mealies, white flies, you name it.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
ctcarol
Jul 10, 2017 7:45 PM CST
Sounds good! Thank You!
Name: Bill
Cape Coral FL (Zone 10a)
Region: United States of America Birds Cat Lover Orchids Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Butterflies
Adeniums Region: Florida Region: Gulf Coast
BigBill
Jul 10, 2017 8:07 PM CST
Thanks everyone for their input so far. It is thought provoking and inciteful.
Death To Bugs!! Thumbs down
"Our children are messages we send to a time we won't see."
Name: Bill
Cape Coral FL (Zone 10a)
Region: United States of America Birds Cat Lover Orchids Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Butterflies
Adeniums Region: Florida Region: Gulf Coast
BigBill
Jul 11, 2017 4:55 AM CST
For the occasional bug problem that might arise, I do use Bayer's 3 in 1 and it seems to work very well. I just remind everyone that 3 applications are needed. I'll spray for the first time on a Saturday say, then on the following Tuesday and then for the last time on another Saturday. That last spray is exactly three weeks after the first application.
First spray gets the adults and crawlers. Doesn't harm most insect eggs. Second spray gets the newly hatched beasties since my first spray. The third spray is like, "take that you little devils!"
Since my cat Rosie chases insects and frogs throughout the lanai, I feel much better about using 3 and 1 or Neem Oil instead of Orthene!
Happy Hunting
"Our children are messages we send to a time we won't see."
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
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ardesia
Jul 11, 2017 5:08 AM CST
Some 40+ years ago when I worked for a large wholesale grower I had to haul the owner to the ER one day after he had sprayed Acephate on ferns and sprayed himself in the process. It was scary, he almost didn't make it and I have been overly cautious ever since, using the least harmful chemicals if necessary .

About 5 years ago I stopped using chemicals altogether. I occasionally (maybe twice a year) put Dr. Bronner's in a hose end sprayer and do the entire garden and all the containers but that is more to discourage deer.

I have found I no longer have any insects to deal with. It might be because the birds and anoles take care of things for me now. I have dozens of Cardinals that flit through my plants and I swear they must be snacking, I have seen them get Monarch and Swallowtail larvae - the kinds of pests I actually approve of. If I see any tea scale on a camellia leaf that one gets picked off and tossed.

When I am wearing my master gardener hat I always advise the first defense to try is a hard spray of water from the hose. If that didn't work recommendation 2 would be Neem or another horticultural oil, # 3 would be Spinosad and # 4 would be the trash can. No plant is worth your health.

I think it is worth mentioning that there is some questioning right now about Spinosad being as dangerous as neonics to pollinators. Not sure how that will play out over time, it might just be fake news.


Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Bill
Cape Coral FL (Zone 10a)
Region: United States of America Birds Cat Lover Orchids Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Butterflies
Adeniums Region: Florida Region: Gulf Coast
BigBill
Jul 11, 2017 6:04 AM CST
Oh my, a frightening tale! I assume he recovered but I see why you went away from chemicals.
I hear of people using Orthene like it was a mouthwash down here.
"Our children are messages we send to a time we won't see."
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
Image
ardesia
Jul 11, 2017 6:15 AM CST
Yes, he did recover but avoided the Orthene after that. I do not remember what he substituted. He had 6 acres under glass and it is difficult to control insects in an enclosed environment.



Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.

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