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How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs On Orchids Best In 13 Step Guide

How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs On Orchids Best In 13 Step Guide / Image by Jairo Alonso Meneses Méndez from Pixabay
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How to get rid of mealybugs on orchids? – Orchids are a popular ornamental plant for many people because of their impressive blossoms with tropical charm. It is one of the most demanding indoor plants and can suffer quickly due to care mistakes.

A typical problem is pest infestation by the insect family Coccoidea. The plant lice with their characteristic shields under which the young grow are evil for orchid owners, as they reproduce quickly and rob the Orchidaceae of the essential plant juices with their stinging trunk.

You discover a white coating on your orchids, and the leaves are beginning to wilt? Perhaps your plants are infested with aphids, lice, scale insects, or mealybugs. It would help if you took quick action to prevent the aphids from spreading further.

 

Lice and mealybugs infestation on orchids in summary explained.

Lice and mealybugs infestation on orchids in summary explained
How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs On Orchids? – Lice and mealybugs infestation on orchids in summary explained / Image by anncapictures from Pixabay

Mostly it is mealybugs or lice that attack the house plants. Both belong to the scale insect family.

  1. The mealybugs, which are about five millimeters in size, are surrounded by white webs of wax, and therefore it looks as if there are little wooly or absorbent cotton fluffs on your orchids. The mealybugs, on the other hand, are coated with a greasy substance that looks like powder.
  2. The vermin usually infest the entire plant. From the shoots to the roots, the aphids make their mischief. They suck off the plant sap and leave behind a greasy film of honeydew and harmful secretions.
  3. If you find sticky, slimy leaves on your orchid, you can be pretty sure that you are hosting uninvited guests. The same usually applies to discolored leaves.
  4. If you intervene too late, the orchid will lose its leaves and eventually die.
  5. As soon as you notice the lice, the first rule is to limit the damage. If you have several plants standing together, the first rescue measure is to separate the orchids affected by the pest.
  6. Lice and other vermin are often getting introduced via newly purchased plants. Therefore, it is not wrong to scrutinize these flowers and treat them prophylactically before putting them together with the other orchids. 

 

How can you control the lice and mealybugs on your orchids?

How can you control the lice and mealybugs on your orchids?
How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs On Orchids? – How can you control the lice and mealybugs on your orchids? / Image by anncapictures from Pixabay

First, you should try to fight the lice and mealybugs on your orchids with household remedies.

  1. First of all, repot the plants. If possible, remove all the old soil from the roots by rinsing them with water.
  2. The safest thing to do is cutting off the flowers as well, as it is challenging to get rid of the eggs and lice.
  3. Do not forget to clean the flower pot very thoroughly before putting the plant back in.
  4. Then treat the leaves of the orchid with spirit or kerosene. Spray a few drops on a cloth and rub the leaves with it.
  5. Alternatively, you can also use various oil such as rapeseed or olive oil, water, and detergent. To do this, put two tablespoons of oil in one liter of water. Then add a good splash of dishwashing liquid. However, one treatment is not enough; you will have to continue the treatment for several days.
  6. Somewhat unusual in a home but useful in the fight against vermin are insects such as the lacewing or the ichneumon fly. Slightly more pleasant than roommates and above all also more superior to look at is the Australian ladybug, which can efficiently exterminate about 250 mealy bugs or mealy bugs. The small pest controllers are available relatively inexpensively in specialist shops. For an Australian ladybug, you have to calculate with about one to two dollars.
  7. If you prefer the chemical way, you can also get appropriate pesticides in specialized stores or online.

 

Characteristics of the mealybug on orchids

Characteristics of the mealybug on orchids
How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs On Orchids? – Characteristics of the mealybug on orchids / Image by stux from Pixabay

The infestation of aphids, aphids, spider mites, and thrips is one of the most common diseases of orchids. Aphids are among the most annoying parasites.

Aphids, also known as mealybugs, are plant pests worldwide and belong to the scale insect family. The mealybug produces dense, waxy fibers that serve as protection against enemies.

A mealybug can be recognized by the white, cotton wool-like webs that usually cover the leaves and the plant’s stems and buds. Other signs are getting wilted, discolored leaves that eventually fall off.

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Causes of lice infestation on orchids

Causes of lice infestation on orchids
How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs On Orchids? – Causes of lice infestation on orchids / Image by LoggaWiggler from Pixabay

Often you drag in the pests unnoticed with the purchase of house plants. Since aphids are tiny at first, they are usually only discovered when they have reproduced sufficiently and have already weakened the plant.

However, unfavorable site conditions, such as air that is too warm and too dry, can also favor a mealybug infestation. Furthermore, a location that is too dark or fertilization that is too nitrogenous can contribute to a pest infestation of orchids.

 

Control aphids, lice, and mealybug on orchid successfully with cooking oil and detergent

Control aphids, lice, and mealybug on orchid successfully with cooking oil and detergent
How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs On Orchids? – Control aphids, lice, and mealybug on orchid successfully with cooking oil and detergent / Image by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pixabay

In case of a smear attack, you should isolate the affected orchid immediately. With this measure, you prevent further transmission of the pests to other indoor plants.

Now you can attack the problem with a self-prepared emulsion of oil, detergent, and water. To do this, add two tablespoons of rapeseed or olive oil and a splash of dishwashing liquid to one liter of water.

Apply the mixture to the affected plant parts with a brush or a spray bottle. It is an effective and gentle method for orchids.

Also, do not forget to change the plant’s substrate and wash the pot thoroughly, as the substrate often contains eggs.

 

Get rid of aphids, lice, mealybug, or scale insects on orchid with spirit

Get rid of aphids, lice, mealybug, or scale insects on orchid with spirit
How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs On Orchids? – Get rid of aphids, lice, mealybug, or scale insects on orchid with spirit / Image by RitaE from Pixabay

You can control aphids or scale insects on orchids with a mixture of spirit. It would help if you had this:

  • 90 ml of spirit
  • 140 ml of water
  • Three drops of washing-up liquid

Mix the spirit with the water and the washing-up liquid or green soap. Shake the mixture well and spray it on the lice. However, it must not get the flowers, as this can lead to the formation of spots.

 

Eliminate aphids, lice, mealybug, or scale insects on orchid with biological and chemical agents

Eliminate aphids, lice, mealybug, or scale insects on orchid with biological and chemical agents
How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs On Orchids? – Eliminate aphids, lice, mealybug, or scale insects on orchid with biological and chemical agents / Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

If biological agents show no effect, chemical pesticides are usually unavoidable. If you decide on sprays, you should use oil-free products for orchids.

Oil can stick to the leaves of the plant and thus lead to their death. However, the oil concentration in the emulsion described above is so low that orchids well tolerate it.

Various sticks and granules are also available in the trade. Their active ingredients are absorbed through the root and then spread over the entire plant.

These products have the advantage that they are useful, even in places that are difficult to reach.

According to experts, you should keep the specified minimum distance when spraying the plant when using pesticides. Otherwise, the pores of the leaves can stick together.

An accompanying biological method to combat the mealybug is the use of larvae of the Australian ladybug.

The Australian ladybug requires a room temperature of at least 18 degrees Celsius and a humidity of 70 percent, and It has an average lifespan of 50 days.

You can buy this beneficial insect on the Internet.

 

Prevent pest infestation of orchids

Prevent pest infestation of orchids
How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs On Orchids? – Prevent pest infestation of orchids / Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

Healthy orchids have their defense mechanisms to protect them from pests. With weakened plants, however, this self-protection is disturbed.

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They become susceptible to diseases. Orchids can be getting infested with aphids, lice, mealybug, or scale insects before they are purchased.

Therefore, take a too close look at the plant and make sure that it is healthy.

 

FAQ How to get rid of mealybugs on orchids

How do I get rid of mealybugs?

What helps against mealybugs? You should separate affected plants from other plants immediately and remove diseased parts of the plant as well. Place the diseased plant in a bright and cool place. To combat mealybugs, spray it with a mixture of 15 milliliters of spirit, 1 liter of water, and 15 milliliters of curd soap.

Where do mealybugs come from?

Aphids are often getting brought into the home or garden by buying new plants. Dry and warm heating air offers ideal conditions for the spread of mealybugs.

How do mealybugs develop?

For two months, about 500 eggs hatch after ten days. So mealybugs spread very quickly. They suck on the plants and feed on them by taking away their nutrients. At the same time, they secrete a poison that turns the leaves yellow and makes them fade.

What do lice look like in orchids?

The about five millimeters large mealybugs are getting surrounded by white webs of wax, and therefore it looks as if there are little wool or cotton fluff on your orchids. The mealybugs, on the other hand, are coated with a greasy substance that looks like powder.

How do scale insects develop on orchids?

Scales are usually getting found near the roots, between the bracts, and in hidden areas on the leaves' underside. Their sucking activities on the orchids cause the pests' direct damage: They need the plant sap's protein as a food source.

Can mealybugs drown?

Aphids drown within two to three hours; scale insects - recognizable by the dark bulges on the trunk and branches of a few millimeters in size - can survive this procedure. Aphids drown or stick to the wool they excrete.

Are mealybugs sensitive to cold?

The mealybugs are not sensitive to cold; they can even survive minus 40 degrees without any problems.

How do I care for my orchids?

Orchids should be wetted once a week in a pot. It is best to water them generously. However, drain off the excess water afterward to avoid waterlogging.

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How long do lice survive in water?

Head lice can hold their breath much better than humans. Underwater they can survive up to four hours without any problems. They would only drown after a longer dive. Unlike humans, lice have no lungs to breathe.

How do mealybugs move?

Crabs cover themselves with a white web of wax and move very slowly or not at all. At first, it is not the animals that attract attention, but this white web on infested plants is reminiscent of cotton balls.

Where is the best place to put orchids?

Orchids generally like it bright, but no direct sunlight. The most suitable place is the half-shaded windowsill of the living area. Most species feel most comfortable on the west or east side; here, the sun falls directly on the plants when it is no longer shining so strongly.

 

 

Conclusion:

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Even with perfect orchid care, you cannot prevent a louse infestation, but you will probably discover the pest earlier and can therefore take better action against it.

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