Tiny silver bugs in potting medium
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  #1  
Old 11-15-2010, 12:33 PM
aramina12 aramina12 is offline
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Tiny silver bugs in potting medium
Default Tiny silver bugs in potting medium

So these bugs are really small, probably about 1/16 of an inch. They're oval shaped, shiny, and silvery. I thought they might be springtails, but so far I haven't seen them jump. I've also noticed white shiny spots on the roots that are a little bigger than the bugs. Unfortunately I couldn't really get good pictures.

I came across a page that said it wouldn't hurt a plant to water it with rubbing alcohol in order to kill bugs. This wasn't specifically referring to orchid though. I kind of found it hard to believe that it wouldn't be harmful.

If it's possible to get rid of these bugs without repotting, I would love to know because there's a new spike and I'd hate to damage it (which I probably would since this is my first orchid). This is a phalaenopsis orchid by the way.
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:30 PM
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Things to check:
1) Do you see them crawling or living on the plant proper? Or just the potting media?
2) Is there any discernable damage to the plant?
3) How many of these bugs are there.

I am willing to bet they are springtails, especially if you answer no to the questions 1 and 2 and the answer to question 3 is too many to count. If you have tons of these bugs, and if they were harmful to the plant, well then, the plant would have been severely harmed by now.

Let us know.
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:37 PM
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Rubbing alcohol, is that propanol (iso propanol)? I have used methanol, methylated spirits, wood alsohol many times to kill mealy bugs and scale insects and it does no damage as long as you don't leave wet plants in bright light - that will cause burns, like a water drop would.
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:58 PM
aramina12 aramina12 is offline
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Tiny silver bugs in potting medium
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1. I've mostly seen them in the potting media, but I have seen a few on the roots.
2. No.
3. I've counted like 10, but there's probably plenty more because I kill the ones I see and more keep showing up.

And yes, rubbing alcohol is isopropanol.
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Old 11-15-2010, 05:17 PM
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Rubbing alcohol is Isopropyl alcohol. Methanol (wood alcohol) is toxic to our species, as are its vapors. Be careful, use it (methanol) in a well ventilated area. I don't know if it's harmful to the plants, since I'm a people and not an orchid doctor.
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Old 11-15-2010, 05:41 PM
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As far as I know, methanol has always beenu sed for bug killing, on contact, but I agree about its noxious fumes
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Old 11-15-2010, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramina12 View Post
1. I've mostly seen them in the potting media, but I have seen a few on the roots.
2. No.
3. I've counted like 10, but there's probably plenty more because I kill the ones I see and more keep showing up.

And yes, rubbing alcohol is isopropanol.

Well, do the roots look like they have been damaged?



I guess I am always the only guy trying to save a few springtails from death.
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:00 PM
aramina12 aramina12 is offline
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Tiny silver bugs in potting medium
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A couple of the roots look kind of reddish brown. It's almost a rust color, but that's something I'm pretty sure I saw before the bugs started showing up.

So are springtails completely harmless then other than the annoyance factor?
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:00 PM
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They aren't just harmless, they eat all decomposing material. So in essence they keep rotting stuff down to a min. If there are a lot of them then perhaps its time to repot.
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  #10  
Old 11-17-2010, 06:18 PM
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If it's spring tails, which it sounds like to me, then just leave them. As Tindo said they eat decaying matter.

I once got rid of them on an orchid dousing the media in soapy water, then washing through with plain water... but the are in all my plants (orchids and non-orchids) and eventually they spread back to the one I had cleaned up.

They seem to get more numerous in ones that need repotting, but I have them in everything and they do no harm.
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