Ambigolimax is a genus of air-breathing land slugs in the family Limacidae, the keelback slugs. Photography credit: Ranjith Chemmad

Pest Control in Orchids

Ailments

by Anu Dharmani

Originally published in BellaOnline

Posted by Sys Admin about 4 years ago.

Article Blog   Article Index

Orchids are troubled by all kinds of pests and disease infestations. Apart from the creepy crawly ones, even winged visitors create a lot of nuisance, so much so that at times I had to keep guard (literally!) against crows. They would pull out the coconut fibres which were used to hold orchids to the small pieces log. Smaller birds like the Mynas would strip the orchids of the moss coverings. Though, I would like to add here that not all birds are harmful, some are friendly or even downright helpful (as in eating the insects attacking the orchids). Some act as pollinators and we have a number of orchids which attract their winged visitors by mimicry.

Molluscs like slugs and snails also cause a lot of harm to orchids, especially the potted ones, because of easy accessibility. Only orchids growing in hanging pots or baskets are safe from them. Slugs and snails become active at night, when they sneak in to eat away the softer parts of the plant. The easiest way to stop them from wreaking havoc is by circling the pots with a line of salt. You can also use bleaching powder in place of salt, but before doing that please check whether its use is not banned in your area. No slug or snail dare cross thus line, as salt can be harmful for slugs/snails.

Ants can also put an end to your efforts of growing orchids. The moist and warms conditions around the orchid roots are quite congenial for them. I found them building nests inside the coconut husks and underneath the small pebbles in the pots. Once I even noticed a whole colony of ants shifting with their eggs into my orchid pots! Once inside they eat the roots and also harbour harmful bacteria and virus. A very effective way to drive away ants is to spray Kerosene oil on to the plants. I did not notice any harmful effect of Kerosene on orchids and was quite relieved to see ants vanish. Kerosene also drives away other pests like crows, slugs etc.

Fungal, viral and bacterial infections are very common to orchids, mainly because of similar the growing conditions. Keep the plant parts such as leaves, flowers and stem dry, while watering, as wet parts attract fungal growth. If infected by virus or bacteria, immediately remove the infected part or segregate the whole plant. Personally, I am not in favour of using any kind of insecticide, pesticide or even a weedicide. So far I am not aware of any ill effects of Kerosene oil, but this also has been used quite sparingly. I have not used any other chemical repellent till date and I would rather stick to the principle of prevention being better than cure. So take care, be healthy and live wise.

Share on Social Media:  
Log in to Add a Comment

New Topics

  1. Darrin Duling asked question Stenocoryne x Bifrenaria = Grex name? in category General Discussion
  2. Charles Vella started topic Orchid list Cold/Warm in category General Discussion
  3. Jan E Teitsworth asked question Can anyone identify this orchid? in category Oncidium Alliance
  4. Marianna Hynson asked question Need Help Identifying this Orchid in category General Discussion
  5. Sandi Block-Brezner asked question Brassocattleya hybrid? in category General Discussion

New Comments

  1. Charles Vella commented on topic "Orchid list Cold/Warm" by Charles Vella
  2. Sandi Block-Brezner commented on topic "Brassocattleya hybrid?" by Sandi Block-Brezner
  3. Robert H. Findlay commented on topic "looking for info about an unregistered cattleya" by bob lewis
  4. james Hu commented on orchid Den. vannouhuysii
  5. Chase Hubbard commented on member plant Hknsa. Sogo Doll by Tom Kuligowski
  6. Colin Campbell commented on topic "Can anyone identify this orchid?" by Jan E Teitsworth
  7. Sharie Heckaman commented on member plant NEW HYBRID (Lc. Cornelia 'Floralia' x Lc. Moonlight Dream 'SVO Moonlight Kiss' AM/AOS) var. Compact by Vickie Seibert
  8. Carol Holdren commented on member plant Lc. Memory of PienPien Wei by Robert Rand
  9. Robert Rand commented on member plant Bc. Yellow Bird by John Small
  10. Sharie Heckaman commented on member plant Btcm. Hwuluduen Chameleon by Diana Sammy
  11. Sharie Heckaman commented on member plant (C. Leoloddiglossa var. coerulea 'SVO Baby Blue' x C.Interglossa aquinii var. coerulea 'SVO') 'SVO' by Joshua J Peterson
  12. Sandi Block-Brezner commented on topic "Need Help Identifying this Orchid" by Marianna Hynson
  13. Sandi Block-Brezner commented on member plant Bsn. Maikai var. Louise by Sandi Block-Brezner
  14. Vickie Seibert commented on member plant Phal. Ember 'Carmela' by Vickie Seibert
  15. John Small commented on member plant B. nodosa ''H&R' 4N x 'Mas Mejor'' by John Small
  16. Robert H. Findlay commented on topic "Parentage of RLC Memoria Emma Chen" by Dean Haas
  17. Dean Haas commented on article "Have Local Orchids to Sell or Trade?" by Sys Admin
  18. Eileen Pryor commented on member plant Den. chrysotoxum by Tom Kuligowski
  19. Gustavo da Silva commented on member plant Max. callichroma by Gustavo da Silva
  20. Peter Goodin commented on topic "What is this?" by John Small