Several different types of pests find Phalaenopsis orchids to be a tasty treat. Many of the pests that attack the plant are not easily seen at first. Once they attack the plant however, aggressive measures must be taken to combat the insects or eventually they will kill the Phalaenopsis orchid over time. Insects are invasive creatures. Any Phalaenopsis orchid plant that has been invaded by a pest should be isolated from other house plants until it is completely free from the pests.
Here is a list of insects to keep a lookout for on your Phalaenopsis orchid:
Hard scale and soft scale insects will attack Phalaenopsis orchids. Soft scale is white and cottony and hard scale is round and brown. These destructive sucking insects can be found on the leaves and stems of Phalaenopsis orchids. Newly discovered infestations can be addressed by rubbing a cotton swab that is doused in rubbing alcohol onto the leaves and stems where the insects are located. Use your finger to dislodge and discard the pests. Treatment should be repeated when any new insects hatch. Serious or hard to treat scale infestations can be addressed by smothering the insects by spraying the plant with Neem oil.
Aphids are a common pest on many types of plants, including Phalaenopsis orchids. Aphids suck the juices out of plants and leave a sticky sweet sap in their wake. The sap then grows a sooty mold which will destroy the orchid. Aphids are 1/8th of an inch long, are soft bodied, and are shaped like a pear. Aphids can be removed by squirting them with a hard stream of water from squirt bottle. Aphid treatment must be repeated every few days for the best results. Insecticidal soap may be required for serious infestations with continued treatment for several weeks following.
Check back to learn about more pests that can cause harm to your beautiful orchids.
Photo credit: Reprinted from the NOVEMBER 2001 issue of Orchids -- The Bulletin of the American Orchid Society. Copyright American Orchid Society