What about ladybugs? I've got PLENTY of those!
Welcome to OrchidTalk Orchid Forums
The Friendliest Orchid Community on the Internet!
OrchidTalk - "Bringing People Together to Grow Orchids Better!"
Let us help you grow your Orchids better; Join our community today.
Register or Login now to remove this advertisement.
This is a discussion on Neem oil!!? within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; That would be so frustrating!!! The plants are in my room and I haven't heard ...
That would be so frustrating!!! The plants are in my room and I haven't heard a mouse, and they're on a wire shelf...with much tastier plants on the bottom rack...and how do I get rid of a slug?!?! I didn't think I would have to worry about that since I re-pot things as soon as I get them home!!
What about ladybugs? I've got PLENTY of those!
Don't hurt the ladybugs! They eat other pests like aphids and cabbage loopers. They aren't vegetarians. <G>
I'm betting you've got a fungus gnat problem... if you think you see "gnats," they're most likely fungus gnats, which vaguely resemble fruit flies. They don't do SEVERE damage to leaves, but just do a little munchy-munchy here and there. They can also nest in the bark and the newborns can nibble on the roots of an orchid, which isn't so good.
I have been battling fungus gnats for a while now. Neem oil didn't do anything for them. I think it's because they spend most of their time in the bark and buzzing around the plant, and not that much time actually sitting on the leaves themselves. One way to find out what you're dealing with is getting yellow "sticky traps" and setting them up around some of your plants. You can find these online. Just do a search for "yellow sticky bug trap" and you'll come up with it. There's various designs of them out there, but they all work on the same principle: bug lands on yellow sticky surface and gets stuck. Bug dies.
I have noticed a HUGE reduction in the amount of fungus gnats I've been dealing with since I've started using these yellow sticky traps. The added benefit of the traps is that you get to see whatever's munching your plants in full view once they're caught. There are some organic products out there that specifically address gnat problems... one that came highly recommended was called GoGnats. I haven't tried it myself, but I'm getting ready to!
Anyway, I recommend setting up some sticky traps, waiting to see what you catch, and then posting a pic! It'll be gross, but at least we'll be able to identify the pest (if it is indeed a flying insect of some sort).
---------------- Update: Just found an even BETTER product to get rid of fungus gnats. It's called Gnatrol WDG. Do a Google search and you'll find it. You spray it on the top layer of potting media and it kills the larvae, which then in turn gets rid of the adults.
Neem or any other oil is of no value with slugs or snails or for that matter with mice: the value is with insects.
And your dilution rate is not very weak - its the standard one. Actually 0.05% by volume is right ; and 32 (fluid ) oz = about 1 litre or 1000 ml ; and 1 standard teaspoon = 5ml. so 5:1000 = 0.05%.
I keep a bottle of this mixture ( an ex-kitchen cleaner trigger operated spray bottle, well cleaned out ) using a proper horticultural wetting agent ( surfactant) added in the same proportion, and whenever I see anything doubtful, a quick swoosh sprayed on is helpful. I don't use washing up liquid as the surfactant since they often have glycerine added ( to be "kind" to your hands) and that tends to block up the pores of the leaves when it dries. Your actual horticultural wetting agent avolids that.
This is the one I am using at the moment,; any good garden centre/online supplier should have an equivalent.
As I expect you have discovered, Neem is thick and even wax-like at low temperatures, and thins a lot as it is warmed up. I putt the Neem oil in the microwave to warm it and thin it before mixing with water and the wetting agent, and then shake the mixture vigorously. On cold days, when I am going to the greenhouse, I put the whole bottle/sprayer of mixture in the microwave to warm it up before I go. You want to be quite sure that it is finely mixed when you use it. Leave it in a cold place and you will find a rim of the oil on the bottle, and then you would be spraying water alone....
I doubt if fungus gnat larvae ate that leaf. They primarily feed on fungi, algae and decaying plant matter. However, the larvae will feed on plant roots and leaves resting on the growing medium surface but that leaf edge does not sit on the medium.
I think the larvae eat the decaying bark, but I've seen adult ones landing on my leaves, and I'm pretty sure that after some nibbling they can inflict the type of damage we're seeing here in this thread. The damage to my leaves has been cut down CONSIDERABLY since I started using the traps, and I suspect it will stop altogether once I start with the gnat treatment stuff.
I think fungus gnats can inflict more damage than they are originally given credit for. When the edges of your leaves are getting slowly nibbled on, over time you wonder what the heck is going on, especially when you've confirmed there are absolutely NO other pests present.
Anyway, I'm not ruling out that it could be something else... I just happened to notice that she said she thought she had a gnat problem... which would suggest she'd seen gnats... which would suggest she has fungus gnats... which is a problem that should probably be treated anyway, so it might be best to start there and see if it does any good. Then, if the damage continues, she can pursue other possibilities... but at least the gnats will be gone!
That's just my humble opinion. But from what I've seen fungus gnats do, over time and in groups they can really mess up those leaves, especially around the edges where they're easiest to chew.
I have damage from my gnats that looks just like what I see here. So if that pest has already been identified, why not go after it first?
Just my two cents...