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#36173 August 11th, 2005 at 08:17 AM
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grrr...
I think I have mealy bugs..
small brownish scale looking deals on the leaves and stems and everywhere on the plant...ugh!
I tried a few cotton swabs with rubbing alcohol to no avail.
Is there a solution, will this be my second attempt at growing a ficus that will fail...?
...bugs suck... thumbup grinnnn

#36174 August 11th, 2005 at 08:38 AM
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Sounds like scale. Thoroughly saturate the plant with a diluted alcohol/water mixture (1:8) with a little dish soap added as an emulsifier. Don't forget to spray the stems, undersides of leaves, and nodes - those little suckers hide in the smallest of crevices.

#36175 August 11th, 2005 at 06:24 PM
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I have an ongoing battle with scale, also on my ficus. Mine is pretty big and so it is hard to get all those little critters off. I like to wipe leafs frequently and I am beginning to win over those little scale. Good luck with your ficus!

#36176 August 11th, 2005 at 07:01 PM
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That's a shame - we have one out in the lobby that's been doing well. But I'll keep my eye out for that scale - don't know if it's a seasonal thing that happens.

I've never heard of the 8 to 1 mixture with the alcohol. I wonder if you can do that with other plants too.

#36177 August 12th, 2005 at 12:16 AM
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Hi Carly,

The alcohol mixture is effective on many plants. However, do not use it on sensitive plants like ferns. If in doubt, test first on a few leaves before spraying the entire plant.

#36178 August 13th, 2005 at 09:24 AM
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Thanks to all for the responses...
I'll try the alcohol/water mix and hope for the best.

#36179 August 13th, 2005 at 10:40 AM
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Personally I like Safer Insecticidal Soap

It is not a poison, it smothers them. Plus it gives the leaves a nice shine smile

Mike

#36180 August 14th, 2005 at 10:26 PM
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Mike,

Insecticidal soap doesn't have the same penetrating ability as the alcohol and that is important for treating hard shelled scale insects.

More important than what you apply is how thorough you are in applying it. As Cricket pointed out, it is the juveniles that are hiding out of sight that later come back to haunt you. Complete coverage is critical for long term success.

#36181 August 15th, 2005 at 06:25 PM
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Will

Just wondering,why would something that is smothering the insects need penetrating ability?
I could understand that with a contact killing insecticide. However insecticidal soaps or hort oils kill by suffocation of the target.

I do agree that the application is the most important part of the process, and also reapplying to make certain that all generations of the insects have been taken out.

#36182 August 16th, 2005 at 05:58 AM
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Good question, Mike. I am not an etymologist, but it is my understanding that the breathing apparatus of scale and mealybugs are protected by the outer coverings of these two pests. The alcohol does a better job of dissolving these protective coatings so that the soap can then do its smothering thing.

That's the theory, as I understand it. My own empirical experience is consistent with this; I find much better results with the combination than with insecticidal soap alone.

In fact, I get the best results with a silicon-based foliage cleaner called Brand X. It's unusual penetrating ability (same stuff as WD-40) gets into the tiny crevices that even soap doesn't penetrate. Very effective stuff and safe to use.

#36183 August 16th, 2005 at 07:38 PM
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You mean ENTOMOLOGIST! Well have a good day Will Creed.

#36184 August 17th, 2005 at 03:46 AM
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Thank you, thebearswoman. My love of words seems to have overwhelmed my distate for insect pests and caused me to use the wrong word. Thanks for straightening me out. You are an excellent student (A, I presume). What is your major? English, by chance?

For the record, I am neither an entomologist nor an etymologist.

#36185 August 17th, 2005 at 07:52 AM
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Will,

No she is majoring in geology, with a minor in both bio and history. clp

#36186 August 17th, 2005 at 07:56 AM
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Mike,

How is this exceptional woman related to you?

#36187 August 18th, 2005 at 01:47 AM
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I just purchased a ficus.. what maintenance or tips can I do to prevent all this from happeneing?

#36188 August 18th, 2005 at 06:19 AM
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GConn,

There is no guaranteed way to prevent pest infestations on any plant. However, there are some precautions that you can take.

Buy from a reputable plant seller. Discount plant retailers often cut corners by eliminating pest control programs.

Check you plants carefully for early signs of pests before you buy.

Provide a healthy environment for your plants. For Ficus trees that means right in front of a sunny window. plants under stress are magnets for plant pests.

#36189 August 26th, 2005 at 09:26 AM
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the 8-1 mix didn't seem to work, I treated it 3 times....
guess I shall rule out fixing his problem...
boo

#36190 August 26th, 2005 at 11:10 AM
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Ceilteach, if the diluted alcohol mixture didn't work, there is a non-toxic product sold by Southwest Plantscape as a foliage cleaner called Brand X that works wonders on pests. Definitely worth a try. Remember, thoroughness is the key to success.

Brand X

#36191 August 28th, 2005 at 02:13 AM
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awesome, thanks for the link...
I'd like to save this plant so I'll try it.
thumbup
kit

#36192 September 4th, 2005 at 10:53 AM
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Can anyone please post a picture of this plant? I think this is what I just got, but it wasn't labeled. Thanks!! Duh

#36193 September 6th, 2005 at 08:43 AM
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Mandy, is it a photo of a ficus you want or scale and mealybugs? Here is a Ficus benjamina potted with purple oxalis.

[Linked Image]

Cricket

#36194 September 6th, 2005 at 10:33 AM
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Hi,

I just found this posting on the internet and I am so grateful. I have a rubber tree that was given to me for my father's funeral and I really don't want it to die. I saw the little brown scales and thought they were new leaves....guess I was wrong, huh. Now my plant has like 3 leaves and the stalks are shriveling. I desperately want to save it, what should I do??? I saw the alcohol/water mixture idea and tried that. Is there any hope?? Please help if you have any advice!! Thank you!!

#36195 September 6th, 2005 at 12:24 PM
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That is exactly what I needed, Thanks! This is the plant that I got!!

#36196 September 6th, 2005 at 12:28 PM
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Should I prune all of the leafless branches off of the bottom? I have looked in the houseplant section, and there is no help topic for this plant. Also, ever since I brought it home, a ton of leaves have fallen off. Is this normal? Will it stop??

#36197 September 6th, 2005 at 03:45 PM
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Hi Mandy,

Expect your new Ficus to drop leaves until it becomes acclimatized to the light levels in your home (it might take a few weeks). They drop leaves when stressed by a change in the environment, which is why it is best to keep them in one place, preferably in front of a sunny, south-facing window. Don't worry, new leaves will quickly replace fallen ones. Let the surface of the soil dry out between thorough waterings and DON'T repot. frown

Pruning Ficus trees is like experimenting with haircuts...unhappy results rapidly grow out. I think the general rule is to prune branches back by a third but if they are dead go ahead and lop them off.

Despite being sensitive to change, Ficus really are hardy plants. The plant in the photo in my post above was rescued in early spring from the outdoors where it had been left to die. flw So prune away!

Cricket

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