Beauty And The Beasts: Care For Your Orchids By Getting Rid Of The Pests

Orchids are beautiful and exotic blossoms that are very delicate to care for. There are about 20,000 pieces of orchid plants that are divided into over 700 genra and they are all a symbol of love and beauty. They are prized for their uniqueness, elegance and beauty, thus the reason for many gardening hobbyists to care for them. In fact, orchids are so exquisite that they are quite expensive too. Unfortunately, they are also victims of pest infestations which are a nuisance. The best way to deal with pests on your orchids is to prevent them from the very beginning.

 

Caring For Your Orchids

Orchids are just like any plants that can be infested by pests and diseases. To prevent this from happening you must first be very observant and make a habit of inspecting your plants regularly. When you are vigilant about it, you can avoid having to deal with pests or diseases in the long run. It is also a good idea to sterilize your gardening tools before you work on your orchids and invest in new one sided razor blades for cutting. Never use a blade on an infected plant and then on a healthy one. Knowing what type of pest can infest orchids is also necessary so you can apply the proper treatments.

Identify Pests That May Be Infesting Your Flowers

When you learn to identify the different types of pests that can infest orchids, you will find it easier to care for these beauties. Here are a few common pests that infest different varieties of orchids:

Aphids

This is a common pest found in a variety of plants and they can be easily distinguished by their black, orange, pink, red, yellow or beige colors. Aphids are normally seen on flower buds, new leaves and shoots feeding on the plant. Sadly, these pests can deform orchids and infect them with virus and bacteria, but hey can be washed off with water or you can spray them with orange oil or isopropyl alcohol.

Scale

Scale is a pest with a hard shell to protect the soft hidden body from danger, making it more difficult to eliminate it with alcohol or other natural remedies. If you look on the underside of leaves or on the edge or bracts of leaves, you will find this pest feeding. Getting rid of it can be tiresome, but with plenty of patience, you can simply pick them off your orchids. When you remove this pest from your plants, you can expect your orchids to become healthy.

Slugs

These are also common orchid pests and they can do serious damage to your expensive plants from the roots all the way to the flowers. You can easily find them at night hiding under flower pots and in cool damp places. However, you can eliminate slugs by simply placing a few broken egg shells around your orchids as these shells can cut through slugs.

Mealy Bug

Resembling cotton masses, this pest can be found hiding on the growing tips, stems, bracts and buds.  Usually, they can be seen together with aphids. Unfortunately this pest is quite difficult to eliminate as repeated treatments are necessary.

Orchids are indeed one of a kind and extensive care is recommended for these exquisite plants. If you think that the pests you find infesting your garden and orchids seem to be great in number, you must consult with a pest control professional to get rid of the tiny beasts to save your beauties.

Citations:
  • Photograph by: greenfinger.
Attached Images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://mrg.bz/S9b1DL

Valerie Williams is a freelance writer specializing in gardening and natural forms of pest control in gardens. She also provides information about natural pest control methods in homes and in the garden, how pests can affect plants such as orchids and how the services of Las Vegas Ant Control professionals from help treat severe infestations.






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Worried about pesticides in your food?

Are you worried about the pesticides that might be contaminating the fruits and vegetables that you eat? If you are, you’re in luck.

The Environmental Working Group has come out with a list of 45 fruits and vegetables ranked according to the level of pesticide contamination. The results were based on U.S. Food and Drug administration testing.

The most contaminated fruit and vegetables include strawberries, apples and celery. The top of the list of most contaminated food items is Peaches with a pesticide load of 100.

The cleanest fruit and vegetables include mangoes, pineapples, onions, and avocados. The least contaminated of the list has a pesticide load of 1.

I never realized that peaches had such a high contamination load. I always thought apples were the worst of the bunch.

What the report lacks is actual amounts of pesticides. The items rated on the list are organized on a scale that shows which produce has more pesticides, but without knowing the exact amount of contamination it’s hard to say if the pesticide contamination in peaches is harmful or if the low amount found in pineapple really is a safe level.

If you are worried about pesticide contaminants the best thing to do is limit your exposure.

Not everyone can grow all of their own food supply, nor necessarily do it organically, but you can limit your exposure to pesticide contaminated fruit and vegetables by trying to make some of your purchase organic produce. Know what’s on the list and try to make sure that when you want to buy some of the items that are listed as being most pesticide contaminated, like peaches and apples, that you make those purchases organic.

If you do happen to have a garden try to grow organically. My garden is organic and I find it quite easy to maintain and as you can see from all the photos on this site my plants are very healthy.

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Spring tasks to get your garden growing

It’s been a long winter

Many of us in the North experienced one of the snowiest winters that we’ve had in years. Cool temperatures are continuing even though it’s already officially spring. I’d say that this year we’re probably going to be two or three weeks behind on our normal Spring gardening tasks.

Normally the snow is gone, or just about gone, by this time in March. In fact I usually have crocus’ and snowdrops blooming by now. However, if you experienced the same winter I did your garden is likely still buried under snow!

Still … it’s time to think about Spring gardening tasks.

I’m sure some of you have already started cleaning up your garden and preparing for the season ahead. Those of us that are still unable to get out into the garden, well … we can at least make sure that our gardening tools are in order, oil and sharpen our pruners and purchase any supplies that we need so that we’ll be able to catch up once the snow finally melts!

Spring Tasks

  • As I stated above, this is a great time of year to maintain your gardening tools by cleaning, sharpening and oil pruners, having your lawnmower blades sharpened, buying new gardening gloves and any other items that you might need throughout the coming months.
  • Once the grass is no longer wet and the soil in your garden beds dries out begin your outdoor tasks by raking the lawn to get rid of leaves, twigs and other debris that has accumulated in your yard thanks to winter winds.
  • Rake the dead growth from your lawn.
  • If you have damaged or bare patches on your lawn purchase some grass seed and re-seed those areas. Be sure to scratch the soil with a rake first and then apply grass seed to the area. Lightly cover the seed with a thin layer of soil and be sure to keep the area well watered until the seeds germinate and new grass begins to appear.
  • If you protected your shrubs, trees or any garden plants over winter it’s time to remove the winter protect. As the air warms it’s very important that your shrubs and trees have good air circulation around them. Leaving burlap or other forms of winter protect on too long can lead to bark rot.
  • This is also a great time of year to plant new trees, shrub, roses and other hardy dormant plants. Also if you have any trees or shrubs that you’d like to transplant elsewhere in your yard do it before they begin to leaf out.
  • Many trees and shrubs benefit from a spray of dormant oil as this helps to control scale insects and other overwintering pests. Euonymus, magnolias, crabapples and other fruit trees should be sprayed when their buds are in swell.
  • Take a good look at your garden beds and if you notice that any of your plants have come up out of the earth to the freeze and thaw cycles at this time of year. Replant any heave-ho victims as soon as possible. Most will recover nicely if you find them and replant while it’s still cool.
  • Wait until temperatures are reliably warm before you begin to remove mulch and cut back plants such as roses, evergreen plants and shrubs. You can cut off obviously dead branches but don’t cut into live branches until there’s no chance of frost or a return of cold weather. If you aren’t sure what to cut then just wait until it’s a little warmer and your plant is showing obvious signs of growth. Once you do feel it’s time to prune it’s best to prune plants such as roses before they leaf out.
  • Clear your garden of the previous seasons dead plant material such as dead leaves and other debris as they can harbor molds and overwintering pests.
  • Ornamental grasses can be cut back at this time as well.
  • Don’t overwork your garden beds by digging too early. The soil structure is delicate and if you dig in it while it’s still wet you can damage it’s composition. Soil should fall apart when you pick up a handful. If it sticks together in a clump wait until it dries out a bit more.
  • Once the soil has dried out you can begin to dig garden beds, add manure, compost and prepare for the planting of new perennials, annuals and vegetables.
  • Weeds will likely be some of the first green growth you see in your garden. Pluck them out now while they are still young and their roots are shallow. It will mean less work for you later on!
  • Don’t forget to care for your houseplants. The winter months can be hard on house plants as the air is often dry inside the house due to forced air heating. The light levels have also been lower too. Perhaps take a few moments to pick off any dead leaves, top up their soil and lightly fertilize your houseplants so they too will have a great spring start.

Happy Gardening!

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