In your opinion, which are the 3 worst pests in succulents?

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In your opinion, which are the 3 worst pests in succulents?

Aphids
11
2%
Fungus/Rot/Damping off
97
13%
Mealy bugs
184
25%
Mice
11
2%
Red spider mite
150
21%
Root mealy bugs
131
18%
Scale insects
27
4%
Sciarid fly
38
5%
Snails
40
6%
Western flower thrip
33
5%
 
Total votes: 722
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ChrisR
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Re: In your opinion, which are the 3 worst pests in succulen

Postby ChrisR » Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:57 am

I voted for Thrips as the worst originally Darren. I've had them for a few years and they've slowly been getting worse year on year. Last year was bad but this is the worst season I've ever had for cono flowers, but I only just realised that Thrips are to blame. They scoff them before they even get to emerge and any that do struggle to open are alive with the damn things.

In desperation I used eBay to order a chemical from the USA and manged to give them a dose before we left for our winter break. I'll give them another when we get back, but I'm assured that this will do the business. It's Orthene, also called Acephate.

I'm also told by someone who deals in insecticides to the trade that the Provado we buy for amateur use contains about 100 times less of the active ingredient than that sold to professionals. That being the case there's no wonder the B&Q or garden centre stuff has no effect on WFT.
Chris Rodgerson- Sheffield UK

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see http://www.conophytum.com for about 1250 pictures of Conophytum, 370 Adromischus and 430 Crassula in habitat & in cultivation.
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iann
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Re: In your opinion, which are the 3 worst pests in succulen

Postby iann » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:20 pm

I'm also told by someone who deals in insecticides to the trade that the Provado we buy for amateur use contains about 100 times less of the active ingredient than that sold to professionals.

Of course it does, because it isn't diluted yet ;) I don't know if your friend was deliberately winding you up or not, but the stuff you end up spraying on your plants is exactly the same whether you have a license or not. If you like, you can buy the concentrate and use it 100x stronger than the instructions say, but you will kill your plants.

If Acephate kills the Thrips and Provado doesn't then they are resistant to the Provado. One more example of why current EU policy on insecticides sucks big time: people endlessly spraying junk to no effect because they don't have any alternatives to use for rotation. I suspect the Acephate will struggle to wipe out Thrips for the same reasons that Provado does, but if it is a resistance issue then it should at least knock them back a lot.
Cheshire, UK
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ChrisR
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Re: In your opinion, which are the 3 worst pests in succulen

Postby ChrisR » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:57 pm

iann wrote:...... the stuff you end up spraying on your plants is exactly the same whether you have a license or not. If you like, you can buy the concentrate and use it 100x stronger than the instructions say, but you will kill your plants.


So if I had the undiluted stuff Ian, couldn't I, for example, use it double strength? Would that have more effect on resistant insects? I wonder if anyone has experimented with it to see at what level it damages plants?
Chris Rodgerson- Sheffield UK

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see http://www.conophytum.com for about 1250 pictures of Conophytum, 370 Adromischus and 430 Crassula in habitat & in cultivation.
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iann
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Re: In your opinion, which are the 3 worst pests in succulen

Postby iann » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:58 pm

Feel free to experiment with stronger solutions, but really the labels are not written to produce uselessly low dilutions of the poison. They are intended to produce the most effective kill rate without damaging the plants. Neonicotinoids are pretty benign on plant tissue, but I wouldn't spray anything valuable at much more than the recommended dose. You can use much higher concentrations as a soil drench, certainly double is safe for the roots.

If you have the Acephate though, you should try that. Resistance to what you've already tried is very likely, especially for something like Thrips which will have been getting sub-lethal doses to adapt to. You might want to combine Acephate in the soil with a contact insecticide sprayed at the same time. Then you can try a different systemic either in spring or the following year. There are several systemic alternatives to Provado now although they're all in the same pesticide class so not really ideal.
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Darren S
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Re: In your opinion, which are the 3 worst pests in succulen

Postby Darren S » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:55 am

Thank you Chris and Ian, for your responses. Please let me know how you get on Chris.

I had pinned my hopes on this being a temporary infestation that would find some equilibrium but looking at your experience Chris I'm now not so hopeful.
Darren nr Lancaster UK. Growing Conophytum, Lobivia, Sulcorebutia, bulbs etc.
Roger Mann
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Re: In your opinion, which are the 3 worst pests in succulen

Postby Roger Mann » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:57 pm

Apart from insect pests is when people at a show squeeze a leaf or remove some farina on a leaf some people have to touch even at a show where notices say please do not touch ! ...Roger :shock:
B.C.S.S Member 32963 Clacton on Sea Branch and Sedum Society .CSSA long time member also Alpine Garden Society. I collect Sedums and Opuntias large and small. I live in Essex and also go to Chelmsford branch meetings. :grin: :grin: Roger Mann.
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Ali Baba
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Re: In your opinion, which are the 3 worst pests in succulen

Postby Ali Baba » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:00 am

I voted for thrips too, like ChrisR I have noticed an increase in numbers year on year. Certain plants seem very susceptible. I tend to limit spraying to those plants most badly affected, which isnt the best way as there is still a reserve population ready to move in and take over again. However I am not happy to spray the entire collection with imidocloprid as I am worried that it will potentially cause an explosion of numbers of resistant thrips.
I am going to try the predatory mites this year to see how that works...
Flavio
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Re: In your opinion, which are the 3 worst pests in succulen

Postby Flavio » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:57 pm

Mealybugs without question
Monsieur Benoit
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Re: In your opinion, which are the 3 worst pests in succulen

Postby Monsieur Benoit » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:25 pm

I know that I have posted before in this thread, but after the damage done to my seedling Red Spider Mite are the worst pest.
I have lost half my seedlings thanks to this pest.
Peter A
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Re: In your opinion, which are the 3 worst pests in succulen

Postby Peter A » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:33 pm

I am curious that nobody has mentioned ANTS. About four years ago I lost a fifty-year-old Thelocactus hastifer, with about thirty stems, from ant damage. The ants got in the bottom of the pot, removed the soil grain by grain, distributed it over a wide area so that their presence was not advertised, and built a nest. They also damaged the root system so that it rotted. T. hastifer has a corky and spiny exterior and a very solid spongy interior so that it keeps its shape, and it keeps on growing as well until the last possible moment... Eventually I wondered why it wasn't growing as well as usual - or producing flower buds - and I decided to repot it. I was astonished by what I found! From the whole plant I managed to save only one small recent branch, about an inch across. Fortunately it rooted easily and grew well, and was big enough to flower two years later.
ASIThelocactus hastifer 2011 (detail) - 2.jpg

A one-off? Nobody else have problems? It's happened again this year, with two large plants: an Echinocereus dubius and, perhaps tragically, my Matucana Haynei, which had just come into bud for the first time. My staging is topped by galvanised iron trays filled with small pebbles for the sake of drainage, and I noticed a single ant crawling across the stones. Waiting my chance, I squashed it - but then I realised that between the pebbles was a thick dusting of soil, and I checked the bottoms of three nearby pots. Ants dropped from all three and were promptly doused with Nippon powder, a liberal layer of which I left beneath the pots to kill any more that might happen to crawl out. I also squirted Nippon into the hole at the bottom of each pot. Checking the pots at intervals, one pot I soon found to be clear of ants, but the others continued to produce wriggling masses of the dying insects. Since they had no way of escaping without crawling across the Nippon dusted stones, I left them for a couple of days to dry out as much as possible, and had expected by then that all the ants would be dead. Two days later they were still appearing, and I decided that I would have to repot. The Matucana had a full-blown nest, complete with about forty eggs, and several hundred live ants. From the other pot they were still excavating out their nest, but there were still a lot of ants. I've now repotted the Matucana, the roots of which spread wide close to the surface but hardly go deep, and was due to be watered anyway, so the soil was quite dry. The other I had only recently watered, and it is still drying out. I hope to be able to water the Matucana in a couple more days. At the moment there is no sign that the flower buds are likely to abort. My fingers are firmly crossed!

I don't seem to get the problems the rest of you complain of (apart from snails, which aren't too much of a problem with cacti), though about fifty years ago I used to find root mealy bug on many plants I had just bought, and also had problems with white-fly (my parents grew tomatoes). I seem to remember killing the root mealy bugs by immersing the pots for a few hours in methylated spirits; and using an 18% nicotine solution, for which I had to sign the 'poison book', to kill the white fly (and most other pests). I also on a few occasions fumigated the greenhouse with nicotine smoke (essentially shredded paper soaked in nicotine solution that burned slowly producing a thick black smoke: that was given to me by a nurseryman).

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