How sick can orchid growing make us?
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Old 10-28-2008, 04:03 AM
Tropic Tropic is offline

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How sick can orchid growing make us? Male
Default How sick can orchid growing make us?

Having grown orchids for over 60 years in the tropics and faced many hazards that can be related directly to my interest in the collecting and growing of orchids, I have survived fairly well and therefore now wonder how many other orchid enthusiasts have experienced the same fate and can now offer some advice regarding the dangers and benefits of growing orchids. I have been basically lucky and admit surviving the bites of snakes, ticks and spiders, the stings of ants, scorpions, wasps, bees and yet unknown insects plus the resulting near fatal fungus and bacterial infections that resulted from such attacks and injury. That was then, but now I still also face additional dangers from chemical toxins, greenhouse mal-practice, threatening potting material fungal infections and the ever present bacterial and viral threats to an already ageing body. Against this is the great benefit that overcomes all the negative and gives the pleasure of orchid growing a very special value. So let's have some more opinions, experiences, advice and suggestions regarding our interest in growing orchids and the possible danger that this can potentially contain.
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Old 10-28-2008, 04:13 AM
addictedcountryman addictedcountryman is offline
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Oh man... now that I think of it, although my experiences aren't quite as exciting as yours, I have nearly burned myself disenfecting tools, risked bacterial infection from moss, have stepped on broken clay pots (barefoot, of course), risk shocking myself when i plug in the light and my hands are still wet from watering, and have almost broken my neck hanging my vandas on my back porch. so when people giggle when i tell them i am into orchids, i can now tell them that it is as dangerous as any other hobby- only the reward is sweeter.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:51 PM
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Ray Ray is offline
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I have been bitten by fire ants that had taken up residence in my pots, and experienced a fortunately mild fungal infection of the skin from handling sphagnum with an open wound, but the chemicals issues are no problem (I work in the chemical industry, so PPE is second nature).
Ray Barkalow, Orchid Iconoclast
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:58 PM
susiep susiep is offline
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I have to admit growing orchids in the suburbs of Ft Lauderdale is not too risky. I run across nature's more dangerous critters once in a while, but in 35 years have never been biten or stung. Now falling off a ladder is possible as I get older, so I will get my husband to do that from now on. The only thing that bothers me is the orchid seeds. When the pods burst and I accidentally breathe in that dust, I get the worst headache and pressure in my sinuses. And I don't even have allergies. That stuff is dangerous!
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:46 PM
JennS JennS is offline
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Wow! I can't say I have experienced nearly anything like that in caring for my orchids in the 5-6 year span since I have started growing them. Maybe after another 55 years I will have some better stories to tell...

I have encountered the basic things, fire ants which for some reason give me these upraised little white bumps which are itchy and ugly! I encounter the occassional spider or other sort of bug. One of my big complaints is bringing them all inside on those rare nights that it gets too cold for them because I have to run in and out about 30-40 times to bring them all in and i get cold! The worst thing that probably has happened was when I tried to install new hooks for the vandas and I was standing with one foot on a chair and the other on the windowsill on the outside and somehow lost my balance and fell into the bush in front of the area and the out of the bush onto the sidewalk. Just got a little scraped up, but got very embrassed as cars were driving by at the time. However, I used to be pretty careless with chemicals and since joining the board, I have been much more careful to hopefully prevent any issues from using the chemicals.
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Old 10-28-2008, 03:13 PM
Swamper Swamper is offline
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just snakes and alligators in the swamps, seen panther tracks and bear tracks, all while looking for orchids. In my own yard ummmmm mosquitos?
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Old 10-28-2008, 03:24 PM
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camille1585 camille1585 is offline

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When I'm out looking for native terrestrials in the spring, the worst I have encountered were a viper and a wild boar, and they were at a nice safe distance. When I'm taking care of my own orchids, things stay pretty tame. Except the time I sliced my finger while cutting off a very stubbornly attached spent spike.... I think I'm the worst danger!

Completely orchid obsessed and loving every minute of it....

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Old 10-28-2008, 07:46 PM
jkofferdahl jkofferdahl is offline
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The only way I can imagine an orchid being dangerous is if a collector falls out of a tree trying to get it!
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:13 PM
Cookiemonster Cookiemonster is offline
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Well so far I guess I havent experienced anything deadly, other than a milipede attacking me at night-
But I do worry about my usage of pesticides ect ect even though I take the proper precautions, I dont know what effect it'll have 30-40 years down line. So I hope nothing horrible comes out of it.
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Old 10-28-2008, 09:00 PM
Leisurely Leisurely is offline
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If I have an accident related to growing orchids I am not going to blame anything except my own stupidity. If I have to use chemicals, I follow the label instructions. The pleasure obtained from growing orchids far outweighs any problems I might encounter. If I have a task to complete that is not the most desirable, I just consider it part of the care and think of the results. There is one thing however, that I really dislike doing and that is lighting the pilot light on my Southern Burner. You have to get into these various contortions and nearly stand on your head to light the thing. Some poor engineering.

My orchids have provided me with some very good therapy over the years and I can't imagine not having them any more.
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