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Go Back   Orchid Board - Most Complete Orchid Forum on the web ! > ORCHID DISCUSSIONS > Beginner Discussion
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  • 1 Post By tucker85
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  #1  
Unread 06-14-2013, 02:19 AM
Dendy83's Avatar
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Default Thrips - dish soap or insecticide?

Hi everyone,

I'm pretty sure I have what is called "thrips" on my orchids. They are extremely small, white, and don't even show up until I water them...then they are crawling all over the place. I have done some research on the board already and plan on going out tomorrow to get something...IF I need too.

What do you think of what method is best to get rid of them? I intend to buy more potting soil already and will repot asap. I have Dawn dishsoap, which is safe enough to use on just about anything if it's diluted enough. Some drops of dishsoap in a gallon bucket and let the orchid sit in the bucket for 5 minutes? Or should I buy an insecticide? Or both??

Some advice very soon would be helpful, I hate hate hate ha htahthahathhate bugs like this. Especially things that are small and can populate quickly (like fruit flies or those tiny gnats). They just never seem to go away.

On a similar issue, is it because my orchids are being kept too wet for too long or were they brought it from something else (potting soil, another orchid, etc)?

Thanks for your advice.
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  #2  
Unread 06-14-2013, 02:36 AM
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I suggest searching here as there was a recent posting on this.

Thrips are very damaging to flowers and spread fast as they move around fast and reach large area.

I first found out that I had thrip attack when one of my miltoniopsis flowers displayed ugly look. There were so many! I dumped the plant.
I checked my other orchids. Almost all in bloom were infested. Oncidium hybrids, dendrobiums, cattleyas....
I first sprayed the home remedy, which is a mixture of water, dish soap and cinnamon extract. Well, I do not recommend this because not only this ruins the flowers in like two days, thrips are not harmed or at least they fly away and come back when the spray dries out.

I got some bug spray and spray the entire growing area a few times.
It seemed to work. or at least I haven't seen any thrips since last summer, which is when I had problems and sprayed a few times.

The product I used is called Flying Insect Killer by Safer.
You spray the entire area (has to be enclosed area) and close all the windows and doors. You leave the area and return in 20 minutes. then ventilate the area.

You can order it online. Shipping is more than the price of the product but I stand by it!
It does no harm on the plants.

In the meantime, try and kill all thrips you can find. I know they are small and move very fast, but do all you can to kill any you find. They are very destructive!!!

Also, they tend to be attracted by light green and yellow. so if you have flowers in that color, place them near your collection.
Check that plant every so often as you can, then kill any you find. I used toothpick to squeeze and kill.
I had to be strong enough to kill them but not so strong to damage the flowers, but when you are using cheap bait flowers, probably less important.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Unread 06-14-2013, 07:57 AM
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I'm not sure that the bugs you have are thrips. Never-the-less there are a couple of things you can try. Insecticide soap is not a poison but a soap high in potassium that can kill insects. I use one called Safer's but they're all pretty much the same. If you want to go the insecticide route, the premixed spray bottle of Ortho Rose and Flower is a good choice. Bayer makes a similar product that's just as good. These products are designed to use one ornamental plants without hurting the flowers or buds. Use it three times, 7-10 days apart. Both the soap product and the insecticide is available at Home Depot or Lowes.
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  #4  
Unread 06-14-2013, 10:38 AM
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Based on the forums I did read there seemed to be some debate on which was better, home remedies vs insecticide. So then is repotting necessary?

I plan on buying some insecticide (either Bayers or Safer's) and then also using some dishsoap in a bucket and soaking the plants in that.
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  #5  
Unread 06-14-2013, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dendy83 View Post
Based on the forums I did read there seemed to be some debate on which was better, home remedies vs insecticide. So then is repotting necessary?

I plan on buying some insecticide (either Bayers or Safer's) and then also using some dishsoap in a bucket and soaking the plants in that.
I would only repot as a last resort if you still have a problem after using the soap and insecticide.
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  #6  
Unread 06-14-2013, 02:06 PM
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If the bugs are only running around the bark/whatever mix you're using, they might actually be springtails, which are harmless unless you're growing seedlings or the like. Annoying as heck, yes, and I don't want them in my own plants, but everything I've read has them listed as harmless because they just eat decaying plant material in whatever potting mix. If the bugs show up on the plant itself or in flowers, then it's pretty much for certain thrips.

If you want, grab a magnifying glass and check out the little bugs next time you see them and compare to pics of springtails and thrips online. At least from comparative google imaging, springtails look more rounded on the ends (the ones I had looked kinda like mini elongated beetles to me) and the thrips look a bit more pointed.

If they are springtails, just wash off your orchid's roots really well and remove all the old mix, then repot it in fresh stuff and they should go away. I'd assume you could bake bark in the oven before using it if you really want to make sure it's bug-free -- running boiling water through it instead of baking it might help too. I seem to have springtails coming in from outside. I don't know how, but they keep showing up by the window, ugh!

Last edited by Onyx; 06-14-2013 at 02:26 PM..
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  #7  
Unread 06-14-2013, 02:21 PM
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oh, how interesting. Ok, thanks for that info. i didnt look for photos, but just went by descriptions on here. I think I will stick to natural remedies before bringing in the chemicals since chances are they are springtails. I have not found any on my blooms/leaves, just in the bark. I think I will test my camera's macro zoom tonight!
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  #8  
Unread 06-14-2013, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onyx View Post
If they are springtails, just wash off your orchid's roots really well and remove all the old mix, then repot it in fresh stuff and they should go away. I'd assume you could bake bark in the oven before using it if you really want to make sure it's bug-free -- running boiling water through it instead of baking it might help too. I seem to have springtails coming in from outside. I don't know how, but they keep showing up by the window, ugh!
Running boiling water over bark is also a good way to increase its water-holding capacity, so the new bark isn't so dry as it normally is when brand-new (I think u can do this instead of having to soak overnite, although I don't have first-hand experience on this)

I've had infestations of springtails in my house a few years back (they never made it to my orchids that I was aware of ~ tho this was pre-addiction, so I wasn't as diligent as I am now Lol). One thing they r attracted to, which is prob why Onyx has them showing up on their window-sill, is the color white... They were always hanging out on my white tile, (have black & white tiled kitchen counters, & bthrm floors) and ONLY the white tiles, as well as my white window-sills (think that's why they came inside) ... I would sit there for hours squishing them!

And, they also seemed to be attracted to water.. Maybe not for a swim, but for hydration/mold? ...maybe?... Can't remember, the exterminator that I finally called told me about the water/dampness attraction... Don't remember his answer for why they r attracted to it (the infestation got REALLY bad, that's y I finally called the Extrmtr... Worth it tho, they haven't been back since!)

EDIT: There were thousands of them!

Last edited by Island Girl; 06-14-2013 at 04:19 PM..
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  #9  
Unread 06-14-2013, 07:08 PM
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Sure enough, upon closer inspection they are more than likely springtails. More research has shown that they dont, in fact, harm the plant but are commonly found in decomposing materials. I will stick with my dish soap plan and let the orchids dry out maybe one day longer than normal before watering. Thanks for the advice :-)
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  #10  
Unread 06-17-2013, 01:18 AM
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Good to hear that! Thrips are terrible to have. lol
Springtails are everywhere in my collection and they dont' seem to affect plants in any negative way.
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