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  #1  
Unread 08-16-2008, 01:53 PM
RosieC's Avatar
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Default Tiny Tiny White Bugs

I've just found very very tiny white bugs in my Phal roots. The roots are dying... not sure if the bugs are feeding on the dying tissue or causing it.

They are about 1mm long at their biggest, most are really difficult to see because they are so tiny.

I have no idea what they might be. They were also crawling arround on the stones which were supporting the pot in a humiditry tray. My husband has cleand the stones and tray in bleach but I don't want to damage my already weak Phal with that.

I have read that a soap solution can kill some bugs. Is this the best thing to try?

Please Help, I'm really worried about this plant.
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  #2  
Unread 08-16-2008, 03:42 PM
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Hello sounds very very similar to something that I had and currently have going on, I've changed medium ect and they still manage to keep coming back!! ahhh
I read this the other night, and Im trying it with hopes it might be the solution to our problem

small silver bugs w/ wings in my phal bark mix - Orchids Forum - GardenWeb

I'll let you know if what Im doing is helping or hurting, I just want them gone regardless---
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  #3  
Unread 08-16-2008, 05:26 PM
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I would ask if you have seen any fungus gnats flying around? Could be the larva of gnats
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  #4  
Unread 08-16-2008, 05:35 PM
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I don't think these are fungus gnats (could be wrong). I recognize the description as small white crawling insects (as opposed to flying or wrigling.) They live off rotting or decaying medium. First thing is get the medium changed to fresher stuff (ie. transplant to new medium.) I suspect any of the Safers type products will kill the insects once you bare root the plant.
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  #5  
Unread 08-16-2008, 07:13 PM
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Could be psocids (bark lice). They are bigger than thrips, which is still not large. Inhabit moist, decomposing material. If you change medium, rinse roots well. I am thinking that a drench of acephate or malathion might knock them out, but they are a sign that your medium needs changing.
Cheers - Nancy
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  #6  
Unread 08-17-2008, 04:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cookiemonster View Post
Hello sounds very very similar to something that I had and currently have going on, I've changed medium ect and they still manage to keep coming back!! ahhh
I read this the other night, and Im trying it with hopes it might be the solution to our problem

small silver bugs w/ wings in my phal bark mix - Orchids Forum - GardenWeb

I'll let you know if what Im doing is helping or hurting, I just want them gone regardless---

The description in this link of 'Springtails' sounds really like them...

"They're hardly visible until you water, and then they hop around in glee."

Although I first saw them in the roots, when I added water to the humidity tray that's when I suddenly saw them hopping arround in that. They seems to crawl a bit, then suddenly hop to somewhere else and crawl a bit more, and the water certainly seems to bring them out.

Last edited by RosieC; 08-17-2008 at 04:15 AM..
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  #7  
Unread 08-17-2008, 04:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikerDoc5968 View Post
I would ask if you have seen any fungus gnats flying around? Could be the larva of gnats
I read a description of them yesterday on someone elses post and it didn't sound quite right. For one thing they are far smaller than that description indicated. Currently I'm thinking they sound most like the description of springtails.
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  #8  
Unread 08-17-2008, 04:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nancy View Post
I am thinking that a drench of acephate or malathion might knock them out, but they are a sign that your medium needs changing.
Cheers - Nancy
One problem is that this was 'fresh' medium back in April. Someone on the Beginners forum (where this started before I had noticed the bugs and came here) suggested that the pre-mix bags of bark may have brought the bugs with them and already be too decayed.

If I re-pot just now I only have more of the same stuff and I don't know where I can buy anything different.

The medium does not actually look that decayed, it has largish firm lumps of bark and looks in far better condition than the stuff the plant came out of back in April. So is there anything I can do to clean up the bark?
Will washing that through with whatever I use on the plant work?
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  #9  
Unread 08-17-2008, 04:34 AM
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Big, big thanks to everyone who has responded.

It seems to me like whatever these bugs are the solution is just about the same.

1. Wash the roots in either, Soapy Water, Rubbing Alchol or Listerine or something like that.
2. Re-pot into bug free fresh medium

Can I wash the medium I have? It's not very decayed and I don't know where to get anything different, it's all they've got in my local shops.

Currently the plant is just loose in a pot and I keep spraying the healthy roots with water to make sure it gets enough in the mean time.
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  #10  
Unread 01-17-2009, 01:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RosieC View Post
I've just found very very tiny white bugs in my Phal roots. The roots are dying... not sure if the bugs are feeding on the dying tissue or causing it.

They are about 1mm long at their biggest, most are really difficult to see because they are so tiny.

I have no idea what they might be. They were also crawling arround on the stones which were supporting the pot in a humiditry tray. My husband has cleand the stones and tray in bleach but I don't want to damage my already weak Phal with that.

I have read that a soap solution can kill some bugs. Is this the best thing to try?

Please Help, I'm really worried about this plant.
Hi, Rosie,
I'm responding to your post of August (!). I have had the same situation for some time; as far as I know, they are thrips. They haven't seemed to hurt my plants, but when I lift a pot off the humidity tray, there they are, crawling and jumping around. They are tiny and white, and they love moist conditions. They are waiting for the pollen in the orchids' flowers! I also had some African Violets with my orchids; they have had thrips forever. Today I went to repot the violets, and you should have seen the thrip eggs inside the pots! I was shocked, to say the least. I cut off the top portion of the violets for re-rooting, and threw all the medium away. It would seem to me that you would have to immerse the pots into a solution of some kind to get rid of the thrips. I understand that I will never totally get rid of them, but something needs to be done!
What have you done in the meantime, and has it helped?
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