How to Get Rid of Mealybugs on Orchids: 3 Easy Tips

It’s extremely important to learn how to get rid of mealybugs on orchids in order to preserve the plant’s structure. One of the most common pests that feed on orchids, especially Phalaenopsis orchids, is mealybugs. Growers must address these infestations as early as possible because aside from being challenging to get rid of, they could eat up all the plant’s tissue and eventually lead to orchid death if not addressed immediately.

Mealybugs often appear as fluffy cotton on the leaves’ underside, roots, rhizomes, and pseudobulbs of the orchids. They produce honeydew-like secretions, which will make the affected area of the orchids sticky and more susceptible to other pests and vectors, thus, causing further damage to the plant.

How to Get Rid of Mealybugs on Orchids: 3 Easy Tips

3 Ways to Treat Orchid Mealybug Infestation

Once the grower spots a mealybug infestation in their orchids, they should immediately address the pest infestation to avoid damages. Quick action is essential because once mealybugs settle and establish on the orchid’s structure, they will be harder to eliminate. Before treating the plant, make sure to keep other plants away from it, as well, as mealybugs could also transfer and settle on the plants nearest to the infected orchids.

If you find yourself dealing with mealybug infestation, here are three ways to eliminate them:

 

Tip #1. Use rubbing alcohol (isopropyl)

Among the most common control method for mealybugs is the use of rubbing alcohol. You can use a cotton-tip, cotton, or a soft toothbrush to apply isopropyl alcohol on the affected leaves. Be sure to rub alcohol on specific places like crotches, folds, plant bases, roots, and midrib areas as mealybugs love to thrive in these spaces.

Be sure that when you’re treating orchid mealybug infestations that you’re using isopropyl alcohol. Ethanol and methanol can penetrate the leaves of the plant and cause further damage. After you’ve removed the visible mealybugs in your orchids, you’d need to rub alcohol on it again to remove the yellowish spots because these are newly-hatched mealybugs.

 

Tip #2. Use soap and water

Another mealybug treatment you’ll want to try is soap and water. Dilute three parts of liquid soap (or baby shampoo) with at least a cup of water and half a cup of rubbing alcohol. Mist your orchids with the soap and water solution and repeat the procedure for 2 to 3 days until all the mealybugs are gone.

The soap and water are among the most effective mealybug treatment as it helps break down the waxy barrier that protects the mealybugs. As you repeat the misting, their protective wall will gradually thin out and kill the pests.

Be sure to mist not just the leaf but also the roots of your orchids. Since mealybugs also love thriving on the plant’s roots, it’s vital to repot the orchids once in a while and clean out its roots to detect and eliminate mealybug infestation in that delicate area.

 

Tip #3. Use horticultural oils

Neem oil is a horticultural oil and a highly-effective treatment that people commonly use to eliminate mealybugs in their orchids. However, unlike other pest treatments, neem oil won’t necessarily kill the bug. It interacts with the hormones involved in the development of mealybug larva and pupa, preventing it from growing into adult mealybugs.

That is why you should use neem oil and other control measures to eliminate all pests. Neem oils come in mists, and you have to spray the entire orchid with it. You also have to repeat the procedure after seven days to ensure that you have treated all the eggs, larvae, and pupa you may have missed during the first misting session.

 

Should You Grow Your Orchids in a Semipro Greenhouse?

Among the many benefits of growing orchids inside a semipro greenhouse is protection against pest infestation. With the area enclosed with protective fiberglass or plastic film, it would be harder for pests like mealybugs to infiltrate and infect the plants inside the greenhouse. Aside from that, a semipro greenhouse can also offer a lot of benefits for orchid growers.

 

Better control of humidity

Orchids love to thrive in humid areas. If you live in a place where it’s mostly cold all year, you can plant your orchids inside a greenhouse where you can control the temperature and humidity levels. It will help compensate for the water that the plants lost as they open their stomata to breathe.

 

Better ventilation

Adequate ventilation is also essential for orchids. Placing your orchids inside a semipro greenhouse not only protects them from the strong winds but will also help them get the proper ventilation they need through the fans. You can keep the fans running continuously to ensure that the air movement will be constant throughout the semipro greenhouse.

 

Orchid care will be easier

Orchids are known to be challenging to maintain and take care of. But with greenhouses, care for orchids will easier since almost everything will be taken care of, including the humidity, temperature, moisture, and even the amount of sunlight that the orchids receive. With that, it will be easier for gardeners to establish and grow beautiful orchid blooms.

 

Bottom Line on Learning How to Get Rid of Mealybugs in Orchids

The most important thing to remember about mealybug orchid infestations is to address the problem immediately.  Mealybugs can suck out the nutrients from the roots and leaves of your orchid plants, and if left unaddressed, it could lead to the death of your orchids. Now that you have an idea of how to get rid of mealybugs, it’s time to implement the methods in your garden or semipro greenhouse and make sure that your orchids will grow strong and produce beautiful flowers.

 

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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.

 

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.

 

What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.

 

Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.

 

What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.

 

3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.

 

Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.

 

Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.

 

Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.

 

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