The Best Way To Tackle Pests To Keep Them From Destroying Your Orchids

The Best Way To Tackle Pests To Keep Them From Destroying Your Orchids

Orchids are one of the most popular and abundant flowers, commonly found in gardens and homes. With over 25,000 species, orchids offer a wide range of options to enhance your home or garden. However, orchids take up to seven years to produce flowers after germination, so it’s crucial to take good care of them. Orchid pests, such as aphids, scales, mites, and mealybugs, can cause significant damage to the plant by sucking sap from leaves and buds. If left unaddressed, these pests can ruin your entire orchid collection.

To identify orchid pests, look for yellowing or stunted leaves, or droopy appearance. These pests tend to gather under old, large leaves. Aphids and scales produce sugary honeydew, which attracts ants and black sooty mold that sticks to the leaves. To get rid of orchid pests without using harsh chemicals, use rubbing alcohol to drive them away.

Rubbing alcohol dries out the pests’ bodies

Wiping orchid leaves


Isopropyl alcohol may be harmless to us human beings, but it works wonders when it comes to naturally repelling bugs from your precious orchids. This is because aphids, scales, and other soft-bodied pests have protective waxy coverings around their bodies instead of a hard exoskeleton. Rubbing alcohol removes the waxy layer, drying out their bodies and killing them.

To drive away pests, swipe a bottle of 70% isopropyl alcohol and cotton balls or rounds from your medicine cabinet. Saturate the cotton and then wipe the leaves of your plant with it. Make sure you don’t use other types of alcohol, such as ethanol, because they are too strong and can damage your plant leaves. Rubbing alcohol is innocuous enough for your plant while combating those unwanted pests. If you find bugs hidden underneath leaves, remove the bugs and wipe the leaf with alcohol. Because pest eggs aren’t affected by alcohol, you will likely have to wait for the larvae to hatch before hitting them with it. Repeat this process several times until the pests are gone.

One thing about rubbing alcohol is that it evaporates rapidly and leaves a cooling sensation behind. This can be detrimental to your plant and cause necrosis. If the weather is chilly or windy, consider wiping off excess alcohol from the leaves as opposed to letting it just sit there and evaporate on its own.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.