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Watch Out for Aphids on Your Orchids

July 2, 2012

Though they have a reputation for hardiness, phalaenopsis orchids are not immune to damage from insect life. Aphids, in particular, are tenacious “sucking” orchid pests that attach themselves to the underside of the leaves, feeding on the plant sap that contains valuable nutrients. They can multiply quickly on buds and new foliage.

Aphids are one such pest that can deprive an orchid of essential nutrientsIf left unattended, a phalaenopsis that hosts such orchid pests as aphids can develop yellowed, curled leaves. And beyond the cosmetic damage, aphids are carriers of viruses that can permanently affect your orchid’s health.

Protect Your Plant

To protect your plant from orchid pests, perform regular inspections, especially on the leaves’ undersides. Should you spot an aphid—recognizable by its pear-shaped body—begin a treatment with insecticidal soap and a water spray to knock them off the leaves. If the aphid infestation is relatively new, the soap and water should take care of the problem.

Get Tough

However, if the insects have established a foothold on your plant, you may need to resort to a chemical insecticide containing chemicals like malathion, permethrin and acephate.

If you prefer a more natural solution, you have options:

  • You can apply horticultural oil, which coats the insect and suffocates it
  • You can even introduce aphid-eating ladybugs to your phalaenopsis orchids

Whatever method you choose to control orchid pests like aphids, test your solution on a small portion of the plant first to make sure the phalaenopsis orchid is not overly sensitive to the compound.

Finally, be aware that you must apply the treatment consistently at seven-day intervals to ensure that you kill off any successive generations of aphids that may be burrowing inside your plant.

For more help caring for your plants, check out our Orchid Care Videos here.

Photo Credit: Nick Dimmock