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Ladies are in week 4 of 12/12.  Noticed some funky looking leaves and discovered mealy bugs.  They're not pervasive, but...

 

Released some lady bugs (1500) on Tuesday.  I sprayed the foliage with h20 per the directions before releasing.  Poured some LBs on the tops of the plants but there was too much sawdust from the container so I just let them swarm out of the container on their own.  The following day, I'd say 90%+ - maybe more - were dead.  This morning, there's a few dozen remaining (that I can see) but they're mostly on the pot rims and not in the foliage.  Not sure if I did something wrong with the LBs or if they were just old and on their last legs.  

 

Looking for a sure-fire and safe method for eliminating them. The local shop is getting in a fresh supply of LBs today so I was thinking of trying another batch.  Also considering a home-made insecticide spray (water, oil, soap with some steeped garlic).

 

What are you found that works?  Thx.

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If you are wanting to stay organic then what you are doing is good. If you are growing in soil you'll need to keep treating because mealy bugs get into the roots too. To kill the ones in the soil you could water with a tabasco sauce-water mixture. Only problem with that is keeping up on your ph testing. I have heard of people using peppermint oil and spraying that on the leaves and mixing in soil as a preventative. I don't think it kills but keeps them away. Peppermint oil is expensive though.

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Try out Montery Garden Spray, its organic, but used biological  to kill them nastys, Spinosad is the active ingredient.. safe, it claims it can be used up to harvest, but i think 3wks before is kinda max.. I used it and haven't seen any bugs for a year or more.. JMHO..

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ladybugs need food to survive. There is not enough food available in the grow room to feed them. They are packed and shipped with food to eat, small, invasive spotted spiders..... neem oil, sticky traps, tanglefoot, atmospheric controls, all go a long way at preventing pest outbreaks. A pot dip into a five gallon pail with neem/water/soap will kill them in the soil. be sure to bubble some tea for the make up of the bio elimination when finished.

 

kill em before they stress you!

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Grassmatch, have you found that sticky traps work?  If so are they baited traps or have some sort of scent on them to attract the critters or is it just a chance encounter with it? Sticky traps seem like a very good idea to help prevent spread of crawling bugs. I put down sticky mouse traps in my basement and find that they catch a lot of wolf spiders. So I wouldn't diminish the value of even chance encounters with sticky traps.

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Drying, grinding, and simmering habanero, serrano, cayenne, or a number of other hot peppers makes an excellent feeding and spraying additive that bugs hate. Use protective gear when preparing and using them. Don't use it in the last couple of weeks.

Edited by GregS
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mealy bugs aka pill bugs aka roly polys ? they roll up into a ball when you grab them?

 

i dont see regular ladybugs killing adult mealy bugs. there is a black lady beetle and kills adult mealy bugs?

 

did you try diatomaceous earth?

kills bugs fast. get food grade version , safe to eat. wear breathing dust mask as it is very dusty and a  lung irritant.

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The critters that roll into a ball are called pill bugs. Their cousin that doesn't ball up is a sow bug. Mealy bugs look a little like a sow bug but without the armor and usually legs that protrude from the side and look feathery.  Sow Bugs and Pill bugs consume dead plant material, not live, so they will not likely be a problem.  Mealy bugs eat the fluid out of the plant and they also are a host for plant disease.

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I use the yellow ones sold by the thousand on amazon. They are awesome indicators, and yes, for every pest caught, a hundred may be prevented. I know of no scents on them. mealy bugs secrete sweet honey, so expect ants to infiltrate your barriers to get at it. The flying ants resulting will inevitably infest many buds within your garden. They don't eat much really, but they stick to resin, die, and taste nasty when vaporized I assume. The sticky traps will catch them quickly, but do little to snag the mealy's. Neem /soap oil spray on each leaf, and the stalks, and a few neem oil dips is your answer. I wouldn't waste money on more insects, although there is a mealy bug destroyer insect available. These work much better outdoors where they can find all kinds of food to eat while seeking the enemy.

 

Mealy bugs don fly, but instead crawl up from the now damaged roots to the stalk, up to the succulent leaves to feed. Tanglefoot on some tape wrapped at the base stalk of each plant in veg and flower will be your hero. Pyrethrins could be your last resort, and the bomb will work on air born bugs, but not so much in the soil. I'd get scared, and use a IPM technique with all of the above. water less, buy your soil somewhere else, make it pro mix or happy frog or fox farm for good results.

 

good luck

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Update:  Spent a good deal of time yesterday looking over the plants.  Did not find one mealy bug! Yea!  However, ladies are heavily infected with scale.  I may have caught it early as they are only on the (mostly) lower fan leaves. Did not find any on sugar leaves or flowers. Did some research and visited the local gardening store and came home with AzaMax - http://generalhydroponics.com/site/index.php/resources/learning_center/fight_pests_with_azamax/  I removed as many affected leaves as I could (in a SCROG - hard to get to all plants in a 3 X 3 closet! Tried the white vinegar rub as suggested by Restorium2 as well as alcohol, but again, hard to get to every plant/leaf ) and applied the AzaMax.  Things look good this morning - time will tell. I found a few scale, but they look deformed.  Thinking the AzaMax is working!

 

This is my second grow.  Learning as I go...  These plants were clones of indoor plants that I put outside due to lack of indoor space.  Obviously, I brought them back in.  Big mistake!  I looked them over really well (at least, I thought I did :-( prior to bringing them in, but...  Won't do that again....

 

Thanks again for all the suggestions and support!

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