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Possible Bug Problem on phal orchid

This is a discussion on Possible Bug Problem on phal orchid within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; Hi, I've successfully taken care of my phal for a year and a half. I ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Possible Bug Problem on phal orchid

    Hi,

    I've successfully taken care of my phal for a year and a half. I have it potted in the orchid bark, rock, etc. mixture. Yesterday, I noticed a tiny white bug moving around near the center of the plant. I never let it sit in water. Is there something natural I can give the plant to avoid any possible bug problems?

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    Is there a cotton like substance on the plant? One thing for sure remove the bug and replace the soil. Most white infective bugs will also nest there. There are only two bugs I can think of it being since you don't mention it flies. Mealy bugs or an Orchid Aphid (although sometimes these can also be green). Either way it is not good for the plant. Check the underside of your foliage for white specks. If you find them then the infestation is beyond just picking the bugs off (as well as if you find the cotton). Take the plant and spray off roots with luke warm water, then take the mildest rubbing alcohol you can find and spray it over the foliage. This will work with any of the two insects. In case of aphids soak soil for 10 minutes to drown (your entire soil supply can be affected depending on your storage methods).

    ---------- Post Merged at 03:59 PM ----------

    If only the one bug it may be a mild infestation so you may want to isolate the plant for monitoring to see if the problem is really a problem before taking any drastic measures.

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    Thank you KSpalding. I just checked my plant and I see no "cotton" or white specks under my leaves. I had only seen that one bug when i had watered it. The bug was a tiny speck and it disappeared when i poured the water into the plant. It jumped around before it disappeared but it didn't fly (maybe it didn't have a chance to). Right now, the plant is in the middle of growing roots both at the top and bottom. Some of them are coming out of the bottom where the pot has slits. I'm concerned about having to repot with new soil because of that but if you think that its better safe than sorry and to repot now, I will. Please let me know your thoughts.

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    ksriramkumar is offline Senior Member
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    Hi,

    Possibly check the media if it is rotting. it could be a fungal gnats. you could smell the media to see if it smells bad.

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    Thanks Ksriramkumar. It does not smell from the top. I just watered it yesterday so it smells like wet bark but I'm having the feeling I should replace the soil and give it a spritz of alcohol just to be on the safe side. I'm sure the orchid is much hardier than I think and can withstand being repotted and having its roots cut and disrupted from transferring.

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    Fungal Gnats would fly. It definitely sounds like an Aphid. They are very tiny and jump around like fleas. Small amounts of these are not damaging or uncommon but if your plant starts to show signs of distress at least now you know what to look for and usually just soaking the soil and drowning them is best.

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    wuness is offline Member
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    A tiny white bug that jumps around is the definition of a springtail. These are normally soil organisms that feed on fungal tissue in decaying material and are not harmful to orchids. The do require damp conditions. If you find large numbers of them, that may indicate your medium needs to be replaced. I raise springtail for my dart frogs and feed them yeast.

    wuness

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    Whatever they are, I certainly don't want bugs jumping around in my pot in my living room. My plant does not look distressed but I'm going to change the medium. Correct me if I'm wrong but all I have to do is rinse the orchid roots with lukewarm water and gently remove the medium from the roots......then spray the leaves and roots with rubbing alcohol....is that correct? I think I might take this opportunity to repot into a bigger pot. Or is that not recommended?

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    Didn't know they could be white? The ones in our region are black. Thats good to know.

    ---------- Post Merged at 12:32 PM ----------

    The alcohol may not be necessary since the infestation appears to be mild. You would only want to use it on the plant as a last resort. If it persists than by mildest rubbing alcohol I mean like 16% (just to clear that up) it is a deterrent to many insects including gnats, mosquitos, mealys, aphids, etc.... If you wanted to, you could clean off the table with it to help new insects from arriving. If 16% is unavailable (considering 70% is most common in the household) dilute drastically with water first.

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    If it is an extremely small white bug that moves quickly, it could be fungus gnat larvae. I'm not sure if that is the same as a springtail. I haven't found that they cause any damage to an orchid, but they are a nuisance when they are in the adult flying stage, and I've never been able to eliminate them completely.

    I've used both ammonia and rubbing alcohol on my orchids with no issues. I soak the plant in water and household ammonia when I repot. Probably a 5-10 percent solution....enough to make everyone else in the house complain. I would make it stronger if I could stand it. LOL

    For rubbing alcohol, I use 70% diluted in half or stronger to spray on the orchids for scale, or anything else I can see. It works great, but I make sure there is no air movement when the leaves are wet. It has quite the cooling effect when it evaporates. I don't think I've tried it directly on bare roots, just on top of the media and on the plant itself.

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