Thursday, June 20, 2013

Creepy Critters - Update

A few weeks ago I told you about some sub-tenants I have on my orchid and on my hoya on the kitchen window sill.
http://plant-whisperer.blogspot.de/2013/05/creepy-critters-on-my-hoya.html

I tried to get rid of the mealy bugs with a mix of water and a few drops of ethyl alcohol. Unfortunately that didn't work. Well, it did as long as I kept wiping the bugs off my plants where ever I could find them and kept spraying this mixture every day. But as soon as I stopped for a few days, they came back... with a vengeance.

What convinced me to finally buy something chemical was when I saw that most of the bugs were hiding in the creases of the hoya leaves. Those leaves are so hard that you can't bend them open to wipe the bugs off. The only thing I could do was to set my spray can to a very hard setting and squirt the alcohol solution into the leaves with force and hope that I'd hit them all and they'd be washed out of the leaves. But that didn't really work, either.

So I went to the hardware store and asked for a chemical that I could spray and water my plants with, that would kill mealy bugs but would not harm my orchid... oh, and it needed to work without organic soil because most of my plants reside in this kind of volcanic soil called Seramis.

The nice man at the hardware store felt clearly challenged by my slightly complicated request but he found a solution to my problem.
I bought a chemical called Axoris that is permitted for use inside the house, that won't harm my orchid, that can be sprayed and put into the water. I used it right away, being careful to keep it away from any foods etc. and the next morning I checked on my plants and I saw with some gleeful "sadness" several dead mealy bugs lying around the plants on the window sill. (Insert virtual fist pump here. ;))

That was a week ago and the manual said to repeat the process after two weeks if you're dealing with mealy bugs. I will wait another week and then do that. Today I already found a few (living) mealy bugs again, but I can attack those with the alcohol solution until it is time again for the second treatment.

The man at the hardware store also told me that "more doesn't help more", meaning that an overdose doesn't help better, neither does repeating the treatment more often than suggested. So I will wait.

I won't add the ethyl alcohol solution to my pests section here on the blog even though it felt like the solution would have worked if this particular infestation hadn't been THAT bad.
I will definitely try this in the long run, though, to keep the mealy bugs away for good (once they are gone). It certainly doesn't bother the plants, not even my orchid, and it's easy to use.

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