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ants

This is a discussion on ants within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; This is a great post. I can learn a lot from this one. Could it ...

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  1. #11
    work2ski's Avatar
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    This is a great post. I can learn a lot from this one.

    Could it be that they are attracted to the sweet honeydew-like droplets on the leaves of the plants ? Before, I would associated the sticky residues on the leaves with secretions from other pests like aphids/mealy bugs.

    And then I read in a post somewhere stating that an orchid plant can also produce the sweet droplets themselves. Can someone verify this ?

    So the ants are attracted to the sweet residues on the plant, this I know for sure. The main question is, 'What is the source of that sweet/sticky residues on the leaves ??? Is it caused by the plant or the pests ??? ===> I NEED TO KNOW.

    I still notice the sticky residues on all my orchid leaves regardless of genus but can never detect a single pest or insect anywhere on the plants.

    Looking forward to learn more from this post,
    Trung
    Last edited by work2ski; April 22nd, 2006 at 02:31 AM.

  2. #12
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    Default Sweet Stuff

    It is true that orchid nectar can be produced when bugs are muching away at the plants..but in the absence of bugs, some of my orchids WILL produce honeydew on the spikes at the base of the flowers where they attach to the inflorescence. This generally indicated a "happy" plant.

    I've noticed more honeydew on some catts, phals, and ESPECIALLY cymbidiums. Some catts also produce honeydew on the new growths.

    I think plants do this to draw insects to them to pollinate the flowers.

  3. #13
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    Thanks Clint,

    That's exactly what I wanted to hear.

    Trung

  4. #14
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    Clint is right that both pests and plants produce 'honeydew.'

    The pests secrete it. Whether or not it originates from the plant secretions they suck, I'm not sure. Could be. It does attract ants because it's sweet.

    But for the plants part, the sweet syrup is actually the plant food that runs through the orchid's vascular tissue, nurishing the plant. Think hydrolics. As larger pipes feed into smaller ones (often at joints or bracts, in an orchid's case), pressure builds and some of the pumped fluid leaks through the joint. It's not intended to attract anything. It's just that the orchid's a bit of a leaky system. You'll see it most frequently around flower spikes and other narrow channels.

    If I see the residue on a leaf, I always check closely for bugs, but often it's just the plant drooling on itself. Puppy like...

    Julie

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piper

    If I see the residue on a leaf, I always check closely for bugs, but often it's just the plant drooling on itself. Puppy like...

    Julie

    Ah, Julie... always preserving the classic elegance evoked by orchids!!

  6. #16
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    Yeah, Diane - you're right! They mirror our own elegance...

    Julie

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piper
    Yeah, Diane - you're right! They mirror our own elegance...

    Julie

    HEY!!

    No need to insult the orchids!

  8. #18
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    I was kinda hoping the orchids were bribing the ants to protect it from other pests. Lots of other plants do this, ex: Castor Beam.

  9. #19
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    Ok, so what kind of bribe protects the orchids from us owners???

    Julie

  10. #20
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    Sheer beauty!

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