Pests

Mealy Bugs

CS I have noticed that fall is a particularly bad time for mealy bug. They are hiding in those places you can't always notice. When you bring blooming plants inside the house from the greenhouse or outside, they multiply that much faster. I still use straight isopropyl alcohol either in a spray bottle, Q-tip or syringe to control them. Don't spray your blooms. Carefully use a Q-tip, or you will damage the flower. Sharon Ashton suggests using a syringe to apply the alcohol deep inside the leaves. Great idea!

Pest Control

CS In my greenhouse I am hunting down those pesky mealybugs, and I am not being organic about it either! They seem to be pretty immune to all the non-toxic remedies. I did take the lazy way out though. Since Malathion is the least toxic to humans, I bought the concentrate in the bottle that attaches directly to the end of your hose. No mixing, no fuss. I plan to repeat the application two more times at ten day intervals. I did find a good, five-page article on pest control at the Canadian Orchid Congress.

CS Try Orange Guard for safe and effective pest control. It's active ingredient is the extract or the orange rind and is safe to use in the kitchen. However dilute the solution to one part Orange Guard to three parts water. Careful with the blooms as this is still a solvent!

Snails & Slugs

CS Here is a tip from Ida Hale. Pretty soon those cattleyas will be blooming en masse. If your growing area is subject to slugs and snails, place a cotton ball on the stem below the first flower. Wrap it there so it stays. Those critters won't crawl over it to munch on your hard earned flowers.

CS Most cymbidiums have a slug or two living deep within the pot feeding on the new root tips. They typically crawl up through the drainage holes. When you repot this spring, consider lining the bottom portion of the pot with fiberglass window screening to effectively protect the drainage holes from slug incursions. You may find this window screening at Orchard Supply Hardware by the foot or in prepackaged rolls.

CS You can bring your cymbidiums that are in bud or bloom inside the house to enjoy. There is usually a slug or two inside the mix, and they will sometimes go exploring during the night hours. One trick I learned by accident is to spray the top mix in the pot with Raid a day or so before you bring the cym inside. When the slug comes into contact with the Raid residue they die. They did that once all over my family room floor---very messy, so outside is best!

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