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#55463 May 31st, 2007 at 05:39 PM
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I recently bought a small cactus while it was in flower. It is still flowering, with several new buds about to open. I noticed on one of the previous flowers, and now on one of the new ones, some small bugs. They are tan in color. I have only seen them on the flowers, but they could be elsewhere as well.

Any idea what they are and if they're causing any harm? I will try to get pictures if that's not enough info.

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They are probably mealies, as that's about all that eats cacti, and yes, you've got to get rid of them. Isolate the plant as they will spread. I'd just squish them with a toothpick every time you see them until the plant has finished flowering as many insecticides damage flower buds. I use Cede-o-flora, which does a fine job of controling them without harming the plants. Safer corked a few of my cacti.


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Ok, updating with pics. The bugs are tiny little things, and I can only see them on the flowers, not the plant itself. I am not really sure, but I think it's too small to be mealies.

In the pictures, you can see the damage they have done to the flower. The flower shown in the 2nd picture has no sign of bugs - and no damage either.

In the pictures of the damaged flower, you can see the bugs - they are those little blurry white/cream colored marks.

For size reference, I measured the healthy flower as 4 cm across.

I have been debating if I should remove the affected flowers, but in actuality that is all but the one nice flower.

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You have a beautiful rebutia and I still think they're mealies. I don't know how many plants you have; I have a fairly large collection, though not all are mealie-fodder. My goal is control, not eradication. I had none until I got a contaminated plant from Grigsby cactus. If this is your only plant with bugs, IMMEDIATELY isolate it and keep an eye on those that were near it. Physically remove all bugs, to the point of cutting off the flowers (plants are not short-term joy; this one will live 25+ years, flowering more each year) and squishing/spraying all others. Photo 4 shows more on the plant. Young mealies are very small. Don't hesitate; your plant is too beautiful.


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I will have to go remove the flowers then. I haven't noticed any spreading to other plants, and have moved the plant somewhat away from the others. However, almost every available space is packed with plants, so it is only a few feet away from the nearest neighbor. Is this far enough to prevent contamination to the other plants (assuming the bugs didn't spread before I noticed the bugs?)

I checked my plants, and found one other (a christmas cactus) that had a few bugs on it. I squished what I could see, and moved it over into the "separate" area. I didn't see any other affected plants, but will keep checking.

I cut off the 2 flowers that had bugs, and picked all the bugs I could see off a bud that hasn't opened yet. I don't see any bugs on the cactus itself (in the pictures or in reality).

Last edited by RoseFishWatcher; Jun 3rd, 2007 at 05:01 PM.
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Good! These bugs cause damage in numbers only, or if the plant is weakened for some other reason, and your rebutia is surely a healthy plant. I do SO(!!!) understand not having a plant appropriate isolation area not already used by other plants. Control, rather than eradication, is your goal unless you are willingto toss these plants. I'm never willing to toss(compost) for mealies. I spray with a very safe spray, squish all I see on a regular basis, and don't skeeve about the ones I see. Now that you've got them, if you don't toss every plant you see one on, you will have 0-5 every 1-2 weeks. You just will. Your plants won't mind, really. Squish and grow. :)


May God bless the WHOLE world!

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