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Dear Tess, formerly known as Orchid Killer!!

This is a discussion on Dear Tess, formerly known as Orchid Killer!! within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Anne, very sorry to hear that they are back. I would cut off the spike, ...

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  1. #11
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    Anne, very sorry to hear that they are back. I would cut off the spike, then soak in neem and keep it bare roots for a few days to make sure there is nothing left before potting again. Good luck! And don't think about the bin... You can do it!

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by eaglssong View Post
    Thank you Jovi. So far, so good with the ant problem. Haven't seen any today. But there's sad news too. My very first orchid purchase (big box phal Baldan's Kaleidoscope) had a major mealie bug problem. It looked like it was solved, but today I found some more (big ones too) on her, and one of the two remaining blooms is done. I don't know what else I can do to save this poor little one, and sadly, I think it's time for the bin. I don't want to go that route, but I can't endanger all my others too. Right now, I have her in isolation in another room. Maybe I'll give the neem soak one more try, but it seems hopeless right now. They're hiding somewhere in that plant, and I don't know where.

    Anne, cut the flower spike, unpot her, take her outside and soak her in a bucket of malathion mix for 10 minutes. Set something on her to hold her under the water. Next pour her out and take a hose and wash her off. Take a toothbrush and clean any hard scale that remains. Repot in a clean pot with fresh media. That should do the trick. Don't get the malathion on your hands if you can help it. I wear chemical gloves (probably overkill) but better safe than sorry.

    Don't throw her out yet. It is hard to get rid of scale. They seem to like the sickly plants, so you have to be drastic to control them. After you get her repotted, keep her isolated and check on her for a few weeks. If you don't see any scale in three weeks, you got them! As Gin says - Leave no survivors.

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #13
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    Thank you so much. I was totally broken hearted at the thought of losing my very first orchid, and one which has brought me so much joy.

    Bruce, I don't have any of that malathion stuff, and it's the week before payday, so buying anything is out. I did cut off the spike, and said goodbye to the flowers (yeah, I really did say goodbye). There was a monster sized mealie staring at me from inside the lip, and I just growled at it. What I am doing right now is soaking her in a solution of water, neem oil, and dish detergent. I have rinsed off the leaves, but will do that again.

    What's amazing is the root structure. Apparently, this phal just loves s/h. There were so many healthy and fat roots, going all the way down into the leca. And I see a brand new one emerging too. Now I'm wondering if I can get that pot clean enough to chance using for repotting. It's the only large size I have left.

    I take it I should throw out the leca she was in? Or would an alcohol soak (or neem and water) take care of any hitchhikers who are hiding in there? Can mealies even stay in Leca? There's really no nutrients for them there, right?

    Seems solving problems just leads to more and more questions, huh? I really appreciate the help though, and even more, I can't thank you guys enough for stopping me from throwing her away with out at least trying to save her. She's certainly worth the effort.


  4. #14
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    You could wash the container in the dishwasher or use a bleach solution to clean it. That should be suficient. The leca could be cleaned with bleach water also. I had forgotten you put her in S/H.

    If you don't use a poison, just be sure to scrub her and remove any hard leftovers that could contain eggs from the pests. I bet she will be fine with the roots you describe.

    Cheers,
    BD

  5. #15
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    Thanks again Bruce,

    I gave her a good soaking in a neem oil solution, and wiped her leaves down with alcohol wipes, and then gave everything a good rinse under the faucet.

    This is what's left of my poor little phal, but she's always been a fighter, so I'm sure she's going to keep fighting (Gin would be proud of this little one).

    Here's what she looks like now.....

    Without her flower spike:
    Name:  new beginning 2.jpg
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    New root growth:
    Name:  011a.jpg
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    The root(s) of the matter:
    Name:  01 pano 1.jpg
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    These aren't the best photos, and I apologize. Can't seem to get my editing program to stitch a pano wthout that awful diagonal line. Anyhow, it's hard to tell in the pano, but those roots aren't black (how they look on my monitor). They are a lovely shade of green, and this plant didn't have such long roots before I put her in s/h.

    I think I'll let her dry out for a day or two, and then maybe put her back in the s/h.

    It's such a relief to know we can come here and ask about our plant problems, and get so much help.


  6. #16
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    I bet she will be fine with all of those roots and your care!

    Cheers,
    BD

  7. #17
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    Anne,
    You can also put the LECA into boiling water to kill any lingering pests & their eggs. Obviously, you have to then let the media cool, but it will certainly rid your media of mealy bug or scale. Works for pots, too. This is a good solution if you don't like handling bleach--I've ruined the colors of my clothing on at least one occasion.

    Cheers,
    Rob

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orchidzrule View Post
    Anne,
    You can also put the LECA into boiling water to kill any lingering pests & their eggs. Obviously, you have to then let the media cool, but it will certainly rid your media of mealy bug or scale. Works for pots, too. This is a good solution if you don't like handling bleach--I've ruined the colors of my clothing on at least one occasion.

    Cheers,
    Rob
    Thanks Rob. That sounds like a great idea for the leca. The pot is plastic though, so rather than take a chance on melting it, I guess a bleach treatment is going to have to do. It's that, or the dishwasher. Now don't laugh, but the thought of putting one of the mealy bug pots in with my eating utensils just skeeves me out. Okay, so I'm just a wimp!!

  9. #19
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    Well, I'm not exactly a happy little camper today. Took her out of that plastic tub just to see how she's doing, and left behind in the tub was one of them!! Not even sure if it's alive or not, but I was pretty upset, and now think that every white spot or speck I see on the roots is more of them.

    I had just about decided to give it up, but I just can't do that. Gin, you taught us good (at least one of us). I am going to give her one more try. Of course, that leads to questions yet again.

    What about peroxide? Will that kill the beasts (if there are any left)? If so, do I mix it with water? And how long do I let her soak in that?

    The pot is now soaking in a bleach solution, and will get a run through the dishwasher. I also took the pebbles from the humidity tray out, and they're soaking in a bleach soluition too (just in case).

    I am nothing, if not stubborn, and if this wonderful little phal isn't ready to quit yet, how could I in good conscience?

  10. #20
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    Anne, peroxide will not kill the bugs- it works as a fungicide, not insecticide. As you know all my orchids are outside, so I purchased 3 in 1 from the box store and I am spraying them to protect. Some time ago I bought one beautiful discounted phal ( I know she was beautiful before the mark down price...) and after unpotting it I saw little cotton-kind bugs (don't know what they are) I sprayed it with the 3 in 1 and left it bare roots for some time. I actually think I sprayed it about 3 times in about a week to make sure she was clean before potting her again. Now she has one beautiful new big lief and another little one is comming out... Don't give up!

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