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  #1  
Old 01-23-2021, 07:38 PM
Rhonda Svoboda Rhonda Svoboda is offline
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Default Natural pest control

Okay so many of you know I am experiencing an infestation of bugs. So here's an off the wall question. I am thinking of getting a small terrarium with a frog/toad?
Do they eat spider mites, aphids, etc?
I don't like using chemicals and so what are their natural preditors?
I could keep the toad, or whatever inside and let it go in spring/summer- Pardon the stupidity but has anyone tried this?

Last edited by Rhonda Svoboda; 01-23-2021 at 07:50 PM..
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  #2  
Old 01-23-2021, 08:31 PM
Iklaikk Iklaikk is offline
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I have never used them for a infestation, but I find a lot of spiders wandering my house, and tend to relocate them to my plants.
I'm not sure if I would want to take on the care of a reptile if you are wanting one only as a caretaker for your plants, they can be fairly sensitive to environmental factors. If you think you want to pursue getting a pet reptile I would recommend reading the blogs at Josh's Frogs Josh's Frogs How-To Guides -
I think a more effective option might be to contact local greenhouses and see if any have/would be willing to sell you a small population of predatory mites. They are about the same size as spider mites, but eat spider mites and other plant pests.
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  #3  
Old 01-23-2021, 08:47 PM
aliceinwl aliceinwl is offline
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Keeping pet amphibian as a means of pest control is not likely to be effective. The mites will be too small to be of interest and pests like mealy bugs are too slow moving to trigger a feeding response. There is also a risk of inadvertently introducing amphibian pathogens if you were to release an animal that’s been in captivity and under no circumstances should an amphibian that is not native to or not originating from your area be released. I’d also make sure to only expose a pet amphibian to an orchid that had been in my care for a long time and that I could be reasonably sure no longer had any lingering pesticide residue from treatments prior to my ownership. Amphibians are really sensitive.

I do have pet amphibians and they’re wonderful but they do require specialized care, so if you want one as a pet be sure to research specific needs before you get one. I have wild frogs and salamanders residing in my outdoor orchids so I don’t use pesticides on the outdoor plants. I suspect the salamanders in particular help with slug control.
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  #4  
Old 01-24-2021, 03:48 AM
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SouthPark SouthPark is offline
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Have you identified the kind or kinds of bugs that are infesting the orchids?
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  #5  
Old 01-24-2021, 10:06 AM
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Orchid Whisperer Orchid Whisperer is offline
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I think spider mites would be too small of a meal for even the tiniest of frogs or toads. Simply not worth the energy to go after it. Aphids might be of more interest to really small tree frogs. Remember that most toads will stay close to the ground, aquatic frogs will not climb your plants. Tiny tree frogs might work, but then you have to care for those, and will be limited in terms of chemicals you can use on your plants.

If you prefer organic controls, look for ones that control the pests you have. I think neem may be marketed for use on mites, though I haven't used it for that purpose.
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  #6  
Old 01-24-2021, 11:22 AM
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Neem Oil and the organic insecticidal soap are both safe to use indoors but both usually take a few treatments and some patience to get rid of/diminish issues.

I have been using insecticidal soap (that is labeled safe for indoor usage/organic). The insecticidal soap seems to keep the problem under control but, so far, hasn't eliminated it. I have many non-orchids with many leaves, though, so this probably makes it more challenging. I cannot use any of these things on my pom tree as it seems to kill the leaves (it is just getting new leaves after I sprayed it).

I actually had a bad infestation of a few things once and nothing on hand but Malathion (which I could not use indoors) so I sprayed everything with olive oil and then washed it off the next day (quite a bit of effort). That got rid of all the issues. Nothing survives being smothered in olive oil.

If you want to go the predator route and can enclose your orchids, try lady bug larvae. They do a nice job and will eat spidermites as well as all the types of scale. Usually a few come in with the plants and I have them throughout the winter on my plants (but not this year).
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  #7  
Old 01-24-2021, 11:28 AM
Dusty Ol' Man Dusty Ol' Man is offline
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If you are adamant about not using pesticides, soapy water is probably the best thing you can use against mites and such. I don't understand not using the available pesticides unless you have resident wildlife they would harm. Indoors I use a weak dilution of malathion. It will kill every insect/mite/snail in your pots and not harm you or your pets (dogs/cats). The AOS culture pages even suggest it. This is the insecticide that was used against the Mediterranean fruit fly in California, with great success and little to no negative effects.
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Old 01-24-2021, 11:48 AM
Clawhammer Clawhammer is offline
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I've been dealing with a thrip problem and just ordered Amblyseius cucumeris mites, a predatory mite that is used in the cannabis industry here against thrips. I have a fully enclosed grow room. I know they have predatory mites for spider mites as well.

I also ordered a bottle of malathion in case that fails. The thrips have been persistent despite diligent application of soapy water, insecticidal soap, and even imidacloprid.
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Old 01-24-2021, 11:54 AM
Dusty Ol' Man Dusty Ol' Man is offline
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You can use spot application of the malathion with a paint brush. Or you can spray it if you can isolate the spray to the target area.
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  #10  
Old 01-24-2021, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clawhammer View Post
I've been dealing with a thrip problem and just ordered Amblyseius cucumeris mites, a predatory mite that is used in the cannabis industry here against thrips. I have a fully enclosed grow room. I know they have predatory mites for spider mites as well.

I also ordered a bottle of malathion in case that fails. The thrips have been persistent despite diligent application of soapy water, insecticidal soap, and even imidacloprid.
Keep in mind that the aim of using natural enemies is not to completely eradicate pest insects, but to suppress the population done to below the threshold of economic damage to the crop. This means that natural enemies need to be introduced at regular intervals to keep the pest suppressing effects. Thrips are especially difficult to control because the eggs are laid in the leaf, and the pupal phase is in the substrate.
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