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Effective Tips & Tricks to Protect Your Orchids From Mealybugs

Does your orchid have tiny, white, hairy bugs? Did you try washing them off with soap and water with no results? What is this bug called? How can you get rid of it? Well, the insects on your orchids are mealybugs. You are right to be concerned about them! As any other pests, these are also not innocent on the leaves of your orchid. They can actually break your plant and a heavy infestation of mealybugs will kill it. Because they can multiply quickly, they will get out of control. So act now!

Mealybugs often escape notice early in an infestation because the eggs and crawlers are tiny and the adults try to stay in places where you don’t notice them, on leaf undersides or deep in crevices. Most species that feed on orchids can also infest the roots.

1. Use rubbing alcohol

The first step you should use to halt the infestation is dabbing the insects with rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab. By doing so, pay special attention to crevices and folds. You could also use the alcohol from a spray bottle, but you need to move the plant to a sink or tub before you spray. This way, you avoid damaging the finish on furniture. Alcohol or any treatment to kill mealybugs will need to be repeated every 10 to 14 days to kill emerging crawlers.

2. Repotting the plant

It would also be a good idea repotting the plant, checking the roots and giving them a very gentle cleaning and spraying with alcohol if you find mealybugs. Scrub the pot and saucer, as they could harbor eggs or crawlers.

3. Discard the old soil

Also, replace the potting medium and discard the old medium in the compost pile or yard waste bin. Also, while you’re at it, check nearby plants, plant supports and pots, because the insects do wander in search of food and may turn up in surprising locations. Several that feed on orchids will also live on other houseplants.

4. Try vegetable oils

If rubbing alcohol treatments can’t bring the infestation under control, you will need to decide whether you want to try other chemicals. Among the least hazardous choices are oils, including ones based on vegetable oils, like soy, canola and neem oil. Oil sprays smother the insects. Use according to directions and avoid getting them on the flowers, which they could damage.

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