Ask a Question forum→Help, bugs!!!

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Name: BelovedHoneyGirl
Tampa Bay Area, FL
Region: Florida Organic Gardener Garden Procrastinator Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Bromeliad
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Belovedhoneygirl
Jun 4, 2018 5:15 PM CST
I guess I should have taken pix but I will describe what I'm fighting. The problem began a last year when we had to secure our property and evacuate due to hurricane IRMA. Almost all of my outdoor potted plants HAD to be moved to the back porch which is my plant room. We got home from 10 days of evacuation and travel to NO POWER, of course! We FINALLY got power back close to a week after our return. Needless to say, several of my plants were not so happy! They had all cohabitate for about 3 weeks total due to extended power loss keeping the roll down hurricane shutters sealed!
Most of the initial damage was due to lack of water and light but then I noticed little white spots on one of my very favorite plants, my strawberry begonia. I took great pains to remedy it's infestation and WON. Even managed to get three rescued pups to root! But apparently the little buggers had already begun to spread even though I did not see any evidence after examining all of my plants. I have spotted a few other victims over the last several months but the symptoms were different from plant to plant. Now that it's getting HOT and HUMID here, it seems like the affected plants are experiencing a "bloom" for lack of a better word, of the ghastly critters!

I have seen webs so I was thinking Spider Mites but now on closer inspection, I see what looks like puffs of cotton and black mildew-like substance which have me thinking SCALE. YUCK!! But maybe I have a combo situation going on, I have been reading a lot today and I see that is pretty common.

Should say that MOST of my plants are succulents but I do have a bunch of orchids and primulina, as well.
Also, almost ALL of the affected plants are succulents, especially the echeverias and aloe.

I am currently using Dr.Bronner's Castile Soap at @ 50:1 in a pretty strong spray bottle, medium pressure hose water and the good 'ol thumb-nail to get all the gunk off of my babies! Also taking everything out of the pots, all the way down to the bare roots.

Now I have some questions for all you experienced gardeners:

Should I let the bare root plants dry out or callus before I re-pot?
Is this a good or bad time to deal with some etiolation?
Can I use cayenne in the soil to prevent future PEST infestation?
Any other NATURAL or preferably ORGANIC remedies for PESTS?

Thank you all, in advance, for taking the time to HELP!!)
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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BigBill
Jun 4, 2018 5:55 PM CST
Possibly mealybugs.
Bayer's 3 in 1 spray from HomeDepot, Loews or any garden center. Three treatments, seven to ten days apart. Spray plant, over and under leaves. This is a relatively harmless spray yet I have had good results with it for aphids, mealybugs, scale and mites.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Jun 4, 2018 6:46 PM CST
Photos would help in trying to identifying what pest(s) might be affecting your plants.

~ Webbing usually appears when spider mites are present.

~ White cottony blobs are usually indicative of mealybugs which can be eradicated by dipping q-tips in isopropyl alcohol (common (rubbing alcohol) and gently wiping them from the crevices and stems, leaves.

~ Scale insects can be whitish, brown, black, green ...

I'm not sure why you'd unpot and remove all the soil; I definitely wouldn't recommend allowing the root system of a plant to completely dry out ... they will die and you'd have to start over by rooting cuttings for new plants.

I don't know if Cayenne Pepper deters insects ... it works on keeping squirrels out of the bird feeders but I'm not sure if it has any affect on bugs. I keep a container of ground cinnamon in my gardening stuff for use on my orchids or other plants that get fungal infections. Cinnamon powder is a natural fungicide. I'd be real curious to hear if the cayenne pepper deters insects but I'd probably be reluctant to use it because I wouldn't want my dogs to taste it and knowing me, I'd be putting it on plants and then get an itch and rub my eye! Crying

Hopefully others will be along shortly to offer suggestions and ideas as to what your plants may be experiencing. With all the rain, heat and humidity we've been having, a few of my plants have had issues with aphids. I've had to spray with insecticidal soap to get them under control and knock on wood, I haven't seen any the past couple of days!
~ I'm an old gal who still loves playing in the dirt!
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot!


Name: BelovedHoneyGirl
Tampa Bay Area, FL
Region: Florida Organic Gardener Garden Procrastinator Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Bromeliad
Bee Lover Tropicals Frugal Gardener Orchids Cat Lover Cactus and Succulents
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Belovedhoneygirl
Jun 4, 2018 6:52 PM CST
BigBill said:Possibly mealybugs.
Bayer's 3 in 1 spray from HomeDepot, Loews or any garden center. Three treatments, seven to ten days apart. Spray plant, over and under leaves. This is a relatively harmless spray yet I have had good results with it for aphids, mealybugs, scale and mites.


Thanks for the suggestion! Unfortunately, neonicotinoids are a worse enemy to my friendly bees than the bugs are to me. I'm really looking for a natural or organic option. But thanks for trying!!)

I did find some actual non- and moving bugs on a plant that I hadn't removed all of the old foliage from, attached pix below.


Thumb of 2018-06-05/Belovedhoneygirl/02e9c3
Thumb of 2018-06-05/Belovedhoneygirl/5519a6
Thumb of 2018-06-05/Belovedhoneygirl/627360
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Jun 4, 2018 6:54 PM CST
There are fluffy ("cottony") scale insects as well but it certainly would help if you could post some pictures.

Cross-posted, can't really see them clearly enough, hope someone else recognizes them.
[Last edited by sooby - Jun 4, 2018 6:56 PM (+)]
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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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BigBill
Jun 4, 2018 7:27 PM CST
Whenever I use Bayer's 3 in 1, I do it early in the day, in a calm spot and I spray in a very controlled fashion. I just don't understand how that extremely localized application is going to harm bees.
After all, the bees gain immeasurably from the pollen producing plants I provide, many are planted while many others are in a large unmowed patch in my yard. But for me I would rather control an isolated attack by insects rather then going after them peacemeal. The first spray kills all adults and exposed juveniles, the second gets hatchlings and the third is for good measure.
Aside from alcohol and Neem Oil, it is the only thing else I use. But it is your choice.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: BelovedHoneyGirl
Tampa Bay Area, FL
Region: Florida Organic Gardener Garden Procrastinator Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Bromeliad
Bee Lover Tropicals Frugal Gardener Orchids Cat Lover Cactus and Succulents
Image
Belovedhoneygirl
Jun 4, 2018 8:19 PM CST
sooby said:There are fluffy ("cottony") scale insects as well but it certainly would help if you could post some pictures.

Cross-posted, can't really see them clearly enough, hope someone else recognizes them.


If I see any more, I'll break out the slr and the macro lens! But you might be on the right track... I'm reading that SCALE can present very differently on each individual plant. Weird. And thanks!)


Lin- it was my understanding that clean, fresh soil is necessary in potted plants with whole plant infestation?? Also, the ones that I left exposed tonight are all succs which don't seem to care all that about their roots! I might be wrong about that with this specific variety but I do have several plants that I received bare roots in the mail and also from friends that have flourish like nothing happened. My grandma used ground red long John peppers in her veggie garden for pests so I just assumed it could only be beneficial here as well??)

BigBill- I'm a novice gardener, at best, and have only the information that I have gleaned from my limited experience, family advice and the internet with which to aid in my endeavors. Luckily, we live in the Information Age and there is plenty of scientific research available to the general public. I have read several reports that look into neonicotinoids, their planetary effects on the bee population and the food chain in general. It's all very disturbing to me so I choose not to use them in my garden. 💚🐝💐
[Last edited by Belovedhoneygirl - Jun 4, 2018 9:03 PM (+)]
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Bookworm Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California
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ctcarol
Jun 4, 2018 9:43 PM CST
Many of us that grow orchids were using the Bayer 3 in 1, but in my case it was only on plants in the green house that Bees had no access to. We have since learned that like all pesticides, the bugs evolve and become immune to it. The best advice I can give is experiment with different products that meet with your approval until you find one that works for you. Just remember bugs evolve way faster than chemicals, so change up from time to time.

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