Orchid Diary Blog

Here is my orchid diary blog where tips will be available and regular posts about my growing regime, so basically a real inside look on how I do things and what I am doing. The good and the bad, hopefully mainly good!

Pest build up

Posted at January 26, 2013 | By : | Categories : Orchid Diary Blog | 0 Comment

At this time of year in winter, pests can build up and gain hold of your precious plants. It is a time when we might take our eyes off them more as they need less watering so we might not handle our orchids as often as we should. You would have thought pests are less of a problem now but you would be surprised, some are lurking and over wintering, slowing rebuilding for the spring. Some just thrive unnoticed  in the dry warmth sucking  and feeding away on our  orchids, with a purpose to produce offspring!

Aphids can be a problem and if left unnoticed they will suck on young growths appearing to cause no damage at all. But once the new damaged growth gets larger the damage will be clearly evident. The leaves will be distorted along the edges and have light coloured spots that appear like mottling. There is nothing you can do about the damage and on soft leaved orchids like Masdevallia the damaged leaves will need removing, otherwise they will remain unsightly.

Mites like spidermite or false spidermite do damage again by sap sucking, but these can so easily go unnoticed as they are tiny like specks of pepper! You will need a magnifier to check the leaves all over, they are more of a problem than people think, probably because they are so small they sneak under the radar. Under the magnifier they do look like tiny spiders and if left untreated the leaves will mottle and produce a light pattern and sometimes a fine downy web can be seen.

Slugs and snail! We don’t really need a warning about these do we? Yes we do! If you have a greenhouse and you think you are pest free then go in there when it is dark and I bet at some point you will find a slug, or the tell tell sign of the slug trail.

Fortunately we have at hand bug killers that should keep pests at bay, there are many on the market so choose one that kill a broad spectrum of pests, it may be a good idea to keep two as pest do become resistant. I normally use a systemic and a contact killer, although I am moving more to contact killers. Systemic products get taken in through the leaves and roots and when the pests suck and attack the plant obviously get poisoned and die. Contact products do just that, once the product has been sprayed on the plant and bugs it goes to work straight away, these products mainly work by smothering the pest. With this method the plants will really need a good spraying as you really do need to make contact with the pest otherwise it will survive by finding a dry spot thus going untouched!

Slugs and snails can be controlled by ‘slug it’ or slug pellets and by being vigilant at night, in fact by being vigilant at all times you can spot problems early and prevent infestations.

Prevention is far better than cure….

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