Carnivorous Plants/root mealybugs

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QUESTION: I was wondering if Acephate or Imidacloprid will work as a root drench for root mealybugs.  I'm doing a thorough repotting of obviously affected plants, but wanted to do a drench of the rest as a precaution without repotting.  Or should I wait until they leaf out and foliar spray then? Or try the beneficial fungus? These are on Sarracenias.

ANSWER: Hi Deven,

Of the two insecticides you mentioned, Acephate is definitely the more effective of the two.  It can be used as a root drench.  However, it isn't effective as a contact insecticide, the bugs have to feed on the plant to be poisoned.  During dormancy, they might not absorb much, so you will probably have to treat again in spring.

I can't say I've every seen mealybugs on Sarracenia in the winter.  Usually when they're outside rain keeps them at bay.  Are your plants in a greenhouse?

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest
http://www.growcarnivorousplants.com

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QUESTION: Yes, greenhouse grown.  Attached is a picture.  Now I'm thinking they might be root aphids, although they produce a white cottony substance like mealybugs.  I never notice anything on the upper part of the plant, they stay in the roots, so they are different than the aerial aphids.  Thoughts?

ANSWER: Hi Deven,

Have you pulled one of the cottony patches off and looked to see if there's a bug in the middle?  Usually mealy bugs are going to be on the rhizome where they can suck juices from the plant.  These look more like small fungal patches in the soil, and not harmful ones at that.  I recommend getting a hand lens and doing a close-up inspection of these to see if an insect is really there.  Can you get a closer macro photo of one to send?

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest
http://www.growcarnivorousplants.com

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QUESTION: I isolated the insect.  Here's a pic.  Root aphid or mealybug I think?  Upon tearing into the rootball, I noticed more of the cottony white substance.

Answer
Hi Deven,

Sure enough.  Definitely use Acephate on your plants.  It will be more effective than Imidacloprid.  Be sure to follow label directions for safety.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest
http://www.growcarnivorousplants.com

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If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

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