bedbug-like smell on orchid roots
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  #1  
Old 11-18-2020, 03:46 PM
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moria0672 moria0672 is offline
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Default bedbug-like smell on orchid roots

Hello there,
I suppose is not only happened to me that when I repot some of my orchids their roots have a bad smell that remembers the bedbug one.
This happens especially on Cattleya, Dendrobium, and Bulbophyllum species.
Does anyone know why?
It's a kind of defense system? or what?
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  #2  
Old 11-18-2020, 04:57 PM
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There should be no bad smell. The medium might be old and decomposing.
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  #3  
Old 11-18-2020, 05:49 PM
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I don't think it's a matter of old media.. Sometimes happens also when dividing plants from cork slab or fresh media.
The other thing is that the same bad smell occurs win different genus and media...
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Last edited by moria0672; 11-18-2020 at 05:51 PM..
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  #4  
Old 11-19-2020, 12:01 AM
Orchidtinkerer Orchidtinkerer is offline
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I am glad I have no idea what bed bugs smell like.
How would one know what bed bugs smell like unless one has seen thousands of them?!?
Orchid roots should not have a bad smell. Sometimes there can be a slight mushroomy smell which is from the substrate or if some roots have gone mushy. However who knows what fertilizer you are using and whether it is leaving a bed bug smell behind.
When I spray for Insects and I get a whiff of that stuff in a confined area that has a nasty smell, probably what bed bug farts would smell like.
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Old 11-19-2020, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moria0672 View Post
Does anyone know why?
It's a kind of defense system? or what?
Hard to say what you are smelling at the moment.

There generally are smells when unpotting orchids and/or dividing orchids, there is likely activity from organisms in and among the roots and media etc.

I also don't know what the smell of bed-bugs ------- but sure ....... I can definitely understand it if we smell certain things when unpotting an orchid.

I think the usual safety procedures should be considered though ------ depending on the growing environment etc ........ such as ----- there happen to be some sort of fungal activity etc, then one probably should not breathe in spores and get into our lungs etc. So probably not a good idea to purposely take a big sniff at media, roots etc.
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Old 11-19-2020, 07:46 PM
Fuerte Rav Fuerte Rav is offline
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On the plus side, losing your sense of smell is a possible sign of Covid infection, so looks like you're ok! The first thing I do each morning is sniff my toothpaste

I've had a very nasty, musty smell once when unpotting a phal, the media had completely broken down and the roots were all black and mushy, not nice at all.

A quick internet search produced this:
There have been suggestions that the smell of bed bugs can be compared to berries’ scent and has a musty yet sweet aroma. Some people have remarked that the smell is similar to the herb cilantro (or coriander, depending on where you come from).
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Old 11-20-2020, 12:22 PM
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Oh geez F.R. ....... that's making me hungry hahahaha. The nice scent and smell that was mentioned. Berries!

True ....... toothpaste does have nice smells for sure! Very pleasant indeed.
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Old 11-22-2020, 01:27 PM
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I'm quite sure I'm not affected with Covid or scatterbrained by the use of any kind of hallucinogen fungi...
I have probably wrong translated the Italian word 'Cimice'...so a better translation might be a stinky bug that refers to Nezara viridula and Halyomorpha halys.
I just repotted a couple of orchids and I confirm that in my opinion is not a matter of decomposed media for the following reasons:
- if I remove the pot there's apparently no bad smell on the media or root nest;
- the bad smell occurs only on the fresh/new roots and not on rotted ones;
- it happens only if the roots are broken;
- if I sniff the media it has not the same smell as the roots.
- if I repot more than an orchid (after the same stay time in the media) that has the same media only certain orchids have a bad smell.
I think might be interesting to investigate why this happens only on some orchids (I have more than 600 different species) and not on all...
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Old 11-22-2020, 04:21 PM
Fuerte Rav Fuerte Rav is offline
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Stink bug! Now I know the smell you are describing - disgusting!
Still can't answer your questions though ....
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Old 11-22-2020, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moria0672 View Post
- the bad smell occurs only on the fresh/new roots and not on rotted ones;
- it happens only if the roots are broken;
- if I repot more than an orchid (after the same stay time in the media) that has the same media only certain orchids have a bad smell.

I think might be interesting to investigate why this happens only on some orchids (I have more than 600 different species) and not on all...
It's hard to say what the source(s) of it is ........ but the nice thing is that we have a starting point ----- which is this thread.

So other people in the world may keep the described conditions in mind when they're repotting, dividing etc.

There are considerations to be made, such as whether the smell is intrinsic ----- a feature of the particular plant. Or whether some organism activity is involved - in or on the roots, or chemical/fertiliser etc.

Hard to say what it is due to at the moment. Also, if enough people - or more people begin to report on the same thing, then could build up some momentum behind it ....... and maybe get to the source(s) of this.

A good start is to make a list of the orchids that you consistently encounter what you describe. Some names will help ------ at least drawing attention to some orchids.
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