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Hitchhiker in Mountie

This is a discussion on Hitchhiker in Mountie within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; When I was dunking the mounties this morning, I noticed a little pile of 'sawdust' ...

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  1. #1
    LaurieD is offline Mealy assassin
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    Default Hitchhiker in Mountie

    When I was dunking the mounties this morning, I noticed a little pile of 'sawdust' on the shelf under brassavola cucullata. This got my curiosity going as I haven't been doing any wood drilling or sawing in the bathroom recently.....I pulled the plant down and Lo! and Behold! there is a hole about 1/4 inch in diameter in the manzanita branch that it's mounted on. A perfectly round hole - Black & Decker couldn't have done a finer job. So now I'm starting to get the heebie jeebies knowing that there's a critter somewhere near me that a.) has REALLY powerful jaws or b.) carries a little drill around.

    So I start looking around on the windowsill and the tile around the bathtub. Don't find a thing. Then I looked into the tub (that I was standing in, by the way) and saw a big, black beetle. At first I thought it was just one of the common garden beetles that are every where around here. Then I looked at it really close and noticed the rather large and formidable looking mandibles it had. I'd found the source of the sawdust.

    After doing a little research, I've come to the conclusion that a Borer Beetle of some sort - haven't found an exact match yet - laid eggs in the manzanita and the conditions were right for hatching. Once the larvae grows into a beetle, they chew their way out of the wood, leaving the sawdust and prefectly round hole as evidence. They're generally nothing to worry about and I won't have to worry about this one at all. It had already passed on to the the great branch in the sky when I found it. I'm suspecting that my cat 'played with it' before I found it. And if it has relatives that are chewing their way out, they can chew away. The suggested method of killing the eggs/larvae is to heat the affected wood in the oven or freeze it. To treat buildings and things you can't bake or freeze, they use borax based insectcides that aren't plant friendly. The plant is well established on it's mount so I'm not going to try to pull it off and remount it. I don't think soaking helps as I soak my mounties fairly often. So, if any relatives show up they will be rinsed down the drain or become cat toys.............

    Anyone else ever have any unexpected guests show up - aside from the usual things like mealies, aphids, etc?

    Sorry I couldn't take pics - son has the camera.

  2. #2
    TundraKev's Avatar
    TundraKev is offline Banned
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    Haven't had that happen, but I have heard stories of beetles dropping out of grand pianos made from expensive tropical woods years after the person had the piano. Evidently, the grubs were in the wood used to make the piano and after the appropriate number of years chewing their way around inside the wood, they were ready to come out as adults.

    I even heard one story of this happening during a concert.

  3. #3
    Piper's Avatar
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    Wow, Kev, wonder if the tunnels helped the piano's acoustics...

    I have no experience with borer beetles, but there are capenter bees and have had plenty of those. They look like large bumblebees, but their carapace (ie, their butt) is shiny (a bmblbee's is fuzzy). Carpenter bees will bore a perfect cylinder the diameter of a dime to a nickel, into wood. They lay their eggs inside. A shot of Raid, or some such will kill the eggs, but that's the only easy way to treat them. Same sort of holes though.

    Eww....

    Julie

  4. #4
    LaurieD is offline Mealy assassin
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    The carpenter, digger, mason and other solitary bees are really beneficial critters. They sell Mason bees at garden supply houses that people buy and use for pollination. And you can buy mason bee houses that are a board with holes drilled in it. The bees lay their eggs in the holes, seal them up with mud and go on about the business of pollinating. With the wild honeybee populations in such a decline, solitary bees are doing more and more of the pollinating these days. Mike knows what a good job they did on my plum tree last year!

    They are really docile bees and don't sting unless you happen to sit on one or something. I found a whole group of digger bees that were making their holes along the edge of the driveway a few weeks ago. It was pretty cool to watch them work. I'm allergic to bee stings and am perfectly comfortable observing the solitary type bees doing their jobs. Never had one even pay attention to me. I wouldn't want a bunch of them living in the house with me but I hope they keep coming back to work here every spring.

    Hey Mike & Lisa! PLUM FIGHT!!!!!

  5. #5
    Forrest is offline Senior Member
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    I have had a few of those. Each time in plants that I have gotten from Andy. I guess they are pretty prevalent in the area he collects his wood. I usually just spray some sort of insecticide down in any holes I find in mounts.

  6. #6
    WolfinKW's Avatar
    WolfinKW is offline Wolf - I bite but only when asked.
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    I had a carpenter bee bore it's way into the bark that one of my pots is filled with. I was out misting and this bee was buzzing around. I don't tend to appreciate being buzzed by UFI's (unidentified flying insects) so I started misting him too. He landed and went into this one pot. I looked and there's a pile of saw dust and stuff. I've been watching for more dust since it's rained and flooded the plants but haven't seen any.

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