Insect Treatments for Orchids


According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, there are more than 30,000 different kinds of orchids, making this family of flowering plants one of the most diverse in terms of the number of species it contains. Orchids are prone to being infested by a wide variety of insect pests, therefore it is a good idea to always have a pesticide that you have manufactured yourself on hand to use on them. Orchids can be grown successfully in plant zones 3 to 9 according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Five Common Orchid Pests

Aphids are a kind of soft-bodied insect that feeds on plant sap and is one of the most prevalent orchid pests. Aphids eat on leaves, which causes the leaves to become deformed as a result of the feeding. Honeydew is a sticky substance that is secreted by aphids. This honeydew eventually becomes a breeding ground for sooty mould. The presence of ants, who are drawn to honeydew, is virtually always a sign that you are dealing with some form of infestation on your hands. Honeydew also draws wasps.

Other common orchid pests include mealybugs and scales, and it can be very challenging to get rid of either of these. This information comes from the Iowa State Extension and Outreach, which notes that mealybugs frequently seek shelter in potting medium, which makes it challenging to get rid of them. Scales are also a common orchid pest. Honeydew is produced by a wide variety of scales and mealybugs in addition to aphids. In most cases, plants that have been severely infested need to be thrown away.

In addition, orchid plants are susceptible to being plagued by spider mites, which are known to flourish in circumstances that are dry. You may assist prevent an infestation of spider mites on your orchids by ensuring that they get an adequate amount of humidity. Cockroaches are another pest that might be a problem for potted orchids that are stored outside.

Homemade Pesticide for Orchids

According to the American Orchid Society, rubbing alcohol is an effective insect spray for orchids because it may remove the protective waxy coating that covers scales, aphids, and mealybugs. This makes it possible for the alcohol to kill the insects. Additionally, insects do not build up a resistance to rubbing alcohol in the same way that they do to other types of pesticides. Isopropyl alcohol should make up at least 70 percent of the mix that you utilise. Applying alcohol to insects that are causing damage to an orchid directly with a cotton swab is one method for using alcohol to control the pest population.

It is also simple to manufacture a DIY insecticide for orchids by placing some rubbing alcohol and a trace amount of liquid soap in a spray bottle and shaking the mixture until the soap is dissolved. Apply the solution in a fine mist on the plant. According to the American Orchid Society, the trick is to use only a few drops of a mild soap. The American Orchid Society notes that using too much soap or detergent that is too harsh will destroy the blossoms of orchid plants. Rub-on insecticides, such as insecticidal soaps, may also be used with rubbing alcohol. On the other hand, you should avoid mixing rubbing alcohol with any oil-based pesticide.

Other Insect Treatments for Orchids

In addition to insecticides based on rubbing alcohol, you may also use insecticidal soap to get rid of aphids, scale, and mealybugs on your plants. In addition to that, oils like neem oil and horticulture oil are quite helpful. These natural treatments have the benefit of being less hazardous than pesticides that are made from chemicals. The American Orchid Society asserts that the most effective use of these chemicals is to use them at an early stage of an infestation, before it has become out of control. In order for them to be of any use, it is necessary to cover absolutely every area of the plant.

To save an infected orchid, you may need to resort to using an insecticide that is available for purchase in some circumstances. One option is to use products that include the active component pyrethrum, which is also useful for treating tomato plants. Only use pesticides that have been granted permission by the appropriate authorities for use on orchids. Despite this, the American Orchid Society advises testing these treatments on a tiny section of the orchid plant and keeping orchids that have been treated with pesticides out of the reach of children, dogs, and other people who could accidentally swallow them.