Mealy bugs

Christiaan van Schalkwyk
Mon, 09 Feb 2009 01:07:08 PST
Hi all

When I was just starting my collecting of plants - I was nine years old at 
the time - I started with succulents, mainly Lithops (which I still grow). I 
bougt many of my plants from an old lady, and she shared with me her "secret 
recipe" for getting rid of mealy bugs and all sort of other unwanted 

One packet (200g) of coarse tobacco (the sort used to stuff pipes, or to 
roll your own cigarettes - a favourite passtime of many in Southern Africa 
2 liters of water. Boil this concoction for an hour (this smell quite 
badly - preverably do this outside). Add 20ml liquid soap (dishwashing 
liquid) and 50ml spiritus (60% alcohol)

She use to spray it with a spraying can on the plants, or drench infested 
plants in it. It is natural, safe and effective. But it smells, and if you 
get onto your skin, it discolors it.

I used to buy large quantities of tobacco dust (in 5 or 10 kg packets) and 
work it into my potting soil, and never had a problem with mealies. Then I 
built a nice greenhouse, that were closed on all sides with netting, and 
stopped all the normal precautions. It was insect free for many years, until 
the door was left open one day, some birds entered, and all the plants where 
they left their droppings (those on top shelves or high growing plants) were 
infested with mealies within two weeks. For me the best way to controll 
insect in the plant house is to controll birds. Keep the door closed ! (And 
unfortunately those that leave the door open won't read this post . . . )


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Linda Foulis" <>
To: "'Pacific Bulb Society'" <>
Sent: Monday, February 09, 2009 2:49 AM
Subject: Re: [pbs] Mealy bugs

> Well, I'm thankful that my pests are the aerial type and not what Arnold 
> had attacking his Arisaemas, that is just nasty.
> I've found them around the base of my clivia's and hippeastrums but they 
> are the same as what is growing on the foliage.
> I've tried, over the past 2 years, to treat these mealy bugs.  I've also 
> learned an important lesson through all this, all new
> plants must be quarantined!  I did try the alcohol treatment for the 
> better part of a year and it would kill all that it was applied
> to, however they seemed to come back just as strong if not stronger.
> We do have Home Depot up here and I will go into the city tomorrow to see 
> what I can track down.  In Canada we are extremely limited
> to insecticides, herbicides, systemic anything.  One can not even buy (the 
> name escapes me now!) anything with Bt (Bacillus
> thuringiensis subsp. israelensis) in it unless you have an application 
> license.  I'm actually surprised that malathion is still
> available.
> Glen, thanks for the heads up on applying to dormant plants, I will learn 
> from your error and not do the same.  I would not have
> thought of that.  Jim you are very correct on being able to control 
> critters by cool temps, unfortunately I'm not able to do that,
> wish I could though because I know it works!
> I do know that Bayer has a Cdn division, however I think (and hope I'm 
> wrong) that it is only for the agricultural / farming sector.
> Still I may be able to find something I can use at one of the local 
> farming outlets hopefully in an affordable quantity.  I'm quite
> fed up with this battle and really do not want to move it to my next home!
> Linda Foulis
> Okotoks, AB
> Canada
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