UPDATE on My Question About Dark Green Spots. I Found Tiny Black Bugs!

by Sammi
(Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

I previously posted on here asking for help...my orchid had dark green spots on the petals but no where else. Since then I have moved the orchid next to my african violet due to reading that they generally have the same love for the same light conditions. No improvements. Ive tried orchid food and everything. Today while watering I decided to investigate my leaves a little further so i was moving moss and such around. Not only did i have leaves buried (my own fault) but there are TINY black bugs. Now I only saw one or two but im panicking I have no idea how to get rid of these things and Im assuming they are the cause to all of my problems in the first place! What do I do? Ive read that rubbing alcohol takes care of them for leaves and petals but they arent on the leaves they're in the moss!

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Jul 31, 2011
What About These Tiny Black Bugs? May Need To RePot
by: Melissa

Hi Sammi, Thanks again for your question.

I thought I had answered this and yet I don't find the thread. When I do I will merge these entries so there is continunity to the conversation.

I think it was a good idea to move your orchids (If it is a Phalaenopsis) near your African Violets as they have similiar light and temperature requirements. You say there are not improvements in your orchids yet but you might have to wait at least a couple of months for you to see any real differences.

You also mentioned that you tried orchid food but again, orchid food will not help with the bugs per se, just help with the general health of the plant. Again this takes time to show up.

I think I sent you a picture of some spots on orchid leaves and you replied that yours were not like that so unfortunately we have not discovered the reason for your spots yet.

Now you are saying that you have found bugs in the moss your orchid is planted in. I think I replied that these might be spider mites. Often they are red, and really really tiny but I read that they could be black as well. Again without a close up picture it is hard to say. And I understand that a close up picture is out of the question. However if you can look at the bugs in moss media with a hand lens (a magnifier) that might help you to get a better idea of what is there. The bugs may be the problem or it may be several things.

When an orchid is weakened by bugs or improper care then it can have several things wrong at once.

What to do? Depends on the bugs. I often start with rubbing alcohol or a Safer type soap. You can spray the whole plant and the media with the safer soap. That would be a good place to start. There are other chemicals available but not all of them are available everywhere and different pests might need chemicals.

If you go the chemical route please be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully, both for how to apply the chemical and how to protect yourself and loved ones and pets.

So to recap. Try looking at the moss and leaves with a hand lens to see if you can get an idea of how many bugs are there and what they look like.

Repot your orchid, throwing away all the moss media and consider putting it in NEW orchid bark.

Consider using a chemical like Bayer Advanced Rose and Flower Insect Killer that has an active ingredient of Imidacloprid. I do not think that this chemical is for mites but it does work on some other bugs. Another good and more "green" option to coonsider is using Neem oil. Oils will kill a wide range of insects.

Let me know how it goes.


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