Orchid pests

Orchids and Pests: Bringing Home a Secret

This orchid is beautiful! It is covered in blossoms and has a great scent. It would make a great addition to any environment. This orchid has a secret. I never would have seen it if I hadn’t gone in for a close sniff of its wonderful aroma. Inside one of the flowers was a small white speck. Upon closer inspection, I recognized it as a mealybug!

Orchid MealybugsMealybugs can be a common problem on orchids of all kinds. Most commercially produced orchids found at retail locations are grown in a greenhouse somewhere. Mealybugs love greenhouses. They are a type of soft-bodied scale and can be tough to kill. In one of their young stages, they are highly mobile and move, undetected, from plant to plant quickly. Once they find a home, they exude a protective wax that’s what makes them hard to kill. They cover themselves in a cottony egg mass and, when the eggs hatch, the cycle continues.

If you only have 1 plant, then mealybugs are no problem. But if you have houseplants, they could spell trouble. They are often tough to spot until the problem is out of hand. When they feed on a plants vital fluids, they exude chemicals from their saliva that can be toxic to some plants or spread disease.

How to prevent a problem:

  1. Learn how to identify mealybugs..
  2. Second, examine your plants. When shopping for orchids, check the plant you want and the plants around it. Mealybugs are usually in the tight place on a plant, like where the leaves meet the stem.
  3. Third, separate your plants. When you get your orchid to its new home, keep it away from other plants, even in another room. This should prevent spread.

Please don’t think that every orchid will have mealybugs. It is worth looking for them to prevent a problem. If you find mealybugs on your orchid, you can keep it, or most retailers will let you return them. Treating mealybugs can be expensive and take time. This is one case where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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