There are four ways on how to get rid of scale on orchids. It’s crucial to learn about the solutions for common problems in orchids to be prepared and act once you see the signs. Remember that gardening isn’t a linear practice, and it’s normal to face challenges along the way.
Orchids are prone to getting infestations of different pests, not just scales, but also of spider mites. And a trend you’ll notice in managing these conditions is that prevention is not only preventing them from occurring. It’s worth noting that pests’ prevention will help eliminate the pest by controlling the insect population and activity.
How To Get Rid Of Scale On Orchids: 4 Best Options
The first option you can use to get rid of scale insects on orchids is alcohol. Among this list, this treatment is best for small numbers of scales or during the early stages of infestation. Use isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab and rub it directly on the scale.
However, you want to be careful with this method because you risk chilling the plant. Remember that alcohol evaporates quickly, and you may end up damaging the thin leaves of your orchids. Therefore, be fast in removing the alcohol residue, especially if the climate is windy.
#2. Water and soap
Another quick and easy method to remove scale on orchids is washing the plant itself. With this removal technique, you want to make sure that you’re getting all the visible pests. Check under the leaves, leaf veins, and stems as scales tend to hang around in these areas.
Use a solution of warm water and a mild soap without ammonia. Again, it’s necessary to use gentle ingredients to avoid damaging orchids. You can use this treatment every other day for a period of one month and then isolate the infected plants for another two weeks if you suspect that there are no more insects.
#3. Horticultural oil
If the first two methods fail, you may have to resort to using horticultural oil or insecticides for a more severe infestation. Remember that it will only be effective with horticultural oil if you thoroughly apply it to the plant. Be generous in using it on the leaves’ top and bottom sides, the plants’ base, and sheaths to ensure that it contacts all the scale insects.
What’s frustrating with scale is that if some insects survive, the infestation can happen again. It’s also worth noting to keep the oil-covered plants out of direct heat or light to avoid burning them. Additionally, don’t forget to check the label directions of your horticultural oil.
The final method for getting rid of scale is insecticides. When the previous three techniques failed to eradicate the insects, you have to check insecticides that are orchid-safe. Understandably, gardeners like to stay away from chemicals as much as possible, but there are cases where the infestation is hard to control.
Check products that are safe for ornamental plants, and don’t be afraid to have a professional help you with it. Much like horticultural oil, following and checking the chemicals’ directions is a must for everyone’s safety. You also want to spray outside, but if not, you can use a plastic bag on the plant as a shield.
More than the plants themselves, there’s a high chance that the roots need treatment too. This is evident in large infestations, so make sure to free the plant from its container and media. You may have to spray the roots with insecticides before repotting the plants in a new container with new media.
How To Prevent Scale On Orchids
One of the best ways to prevent scale infestation is to have a holding area for new orchids. You want to quarantine them for two weeks before introducing them to your existing plants. It’s always better to be preventative, so don’t panic if you might see some scales.
Addressing them early on would make the infestation manageable. If you did see insects, allocate spacing among the plants to prevent the transfer of scale. And as mentioned earlier, leave the treated plants in a holding area for two weeks before reintroducing them to your garden.
Besides sanitation and quarantine, you may also introduce beneficial insects like wasps and ladybugs. They prey on scale insects, and wasps are even capable of killing scale eggs early on.
Signs Of Scale On Plants
To eradicate scale as soon as possible, watch out for the telltale signs on plants. You may notice drooping and yellowing of leaves, and the plant itself withers or refuses to grow. Scale infestation also leaves black fungus on stems and leaves that may look like sticky sap.
It’s safe to assume that pests are the nightmare of any gardener. Once you notice grayish-white insects on your flowers, you may have to use your knowledge on how to get rid of scale on orchids. Your first option would be alcohol and washing the infested plants with soap and water.
If there is no improvement, you have to resort to using horticultural oils and pesticides. Remember to follow the label for these products to avoid damaging your orchids. Additionally, check which of them are safe for orchids to prevent problems.