Bulb Scale Mite on Hippeastrum

Hans-Werner Hammen haweha@hotmail.com
Sun, 29 May 2005 18:32:56 PDT
Hello Jim;

I live and I grow my hippeastrums in Germany.

I regret that I can not offer anything for the GROWING crop (nota bene) 
which is fully endorsed by legality for the private gardener:

Dicofol ( in Kethane) is no more allowed in Germany and Avermectines (in 
Abamectin) is not accessible for the private gardener.

Oxydemeton-methyl (a phosphorous-organic pesticide; in Metasystox-Spezial, 
from  Bayer) works and its use is principally legal for ornamentals outdoors 
but it has to be used at the at less two- better 4-fold concentration 
compared to the recommended. AND it has to be sprayed repeatedly BECAUSE you 
can not eradicate these mites with it - although it is a systemic pesticide. 
You can never obtain a sufficient agent concentrations in the older bulb 
scale parts where the bulk of mites live and from where they emerge to seek 
for new life space. But you can sufficiently protect the new growth by 
spraying into the heart of the plant.

In autumn when I harvest my bulbs I treat them mechanically against these 8 
legged critters. I first cut the leaves at a rather high level, then remove 
all loose parts on the substrate surface and all dry and loose matter of the 
bulbs, then I make the final clean cut to keep only a rather short bulb neck 
and immediately spray with 10 % non drying oil in isopropanol. I use JoJoba 
oil, medium light mineral oil works, too.

I spray on the wound and on the cleaned bulb and the substrate surface (My 
bulbs stay in the grow boxes, keeping the roots undisturbed, during the 
winter reposal. There is no hope that removing the soil has any curing 
effect on the bulbs The spraying procedure has to be repeated several times 
during the winter reposal because new spaces open between the leaf bases as 
the bulbs dry. Spraying must be thorough but still so superficially that the 
bulk of roots does  not get affected.

The only eradicative means is the Hot Water Treatment. It is a well known 
and simple procedure but depends on precise laboratory (or technical) 
equipment. It is only performed on bulbs after the growth season. It removes 
red blotch, eelworms and mites (but not virus). A disadvantage is that the 
roots have to be removed before or are killed during the HWT. The bud 
initials are usually not killed after 46 degC / 2 h treatment.

Reinfection from the environment is to be expected with high probability, 
yes, sorry; I had my experiences in that, too...

Seedlings of amaryllid plants should be raised as far away as possible from 
adult plants in order to stay completely free from this pest as long as 

All the world is worrying about the red blotch: I never experienced red 
blotch to develop on uninfested gardener's amaryllis bulbs. Red blotch is 
"solely" a secondary infestation by the opportunistic Stagonospora although 
it can become deadly for amaryllis bulbs particularly in cold wet weather in 

It seems that all knight star bulbs from commercial sources are infested 
with mites. My experience, sorry. I worry about the mite, not about red 


>From: "J.E. Shields" <jshields@indy.net>
>Reply-To: Pacific Bulb Society <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
>To: Pacific Bulb Society <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
>Subject: RE: [pbs] Hippeastrum Cybister Potting Mix
>Date: Sun, 29 May 2005 18:46:45 -0500
>Can you recommend agents to control or kill the bulb mites?  Are things 
>like Avid (Abamectin) and Kelthane (Dicofol) save to use on Hippeastrum 
>Where are you growing your Hippeastrum, in Europe?
>Jim Shields

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