KTRH GardenLine Newsletter
July. 24, 2008 - Issue #76
Here's Randy's Weekly KTRH GardenLine Tip:
There was a recent TV news story that caught my attention, because it was supposedly about the "new" infestation of Pink Hibiscus Mealy Bugs. But I couldnít help but go HUH?!?! several times throughout the story. Not that there was any factual error in the story, rather it just didnít make any sense to the average person out there and really provided no viable option for control. But the story was so bad on so many levels, I am compelled to counter it via this email for the sake of the gardening audience that is truly paying attention.
So, I guess it mustíve have been a slow news day last Wednesday, because it really seemed like they slapped that TV news story together without any forethought about whether it would actually help the consumer. Here are just the main problems with the TV Mealy Bug story.
1. They said the Mealy Bug invasion was such a serious problem, but never really showed an example via video, other than the one "stock photo"Ė so serious you couldnít find it anywhere? HUH?!
2. The plant in the video they showed twice with an insect infestation was actually a Sheffelera covered in Scale. HUH?! (Couldíve been a Pittosporum) Wasnít the story focused on Hibiscus and Mealy Bugs???
3. They reported no logical way to control them, other than cutting back highly infected parts and throwing them away in ziplock bags Ė HUH?!
4. Then they proposed Phorid Flies as an all-natural control. Huge problem! They are not commercially/retail available.
5. And they showed a picture of a bumble bee the whole time they were talking about Phorid Flies. HUH?!
Let me turn those HUHS into AH-HAS!
1. Yes, there is a Pink Hibiscus Mealy Bug Problem. There has been a problem with Mealy Bugs in general for several years. Here are plenty of examples of what it looks
2. Interestingly enough, the way you spray for scale on landscape plants like Pittisporrums, works great on Mealy Bugs. Sadly, in a world of interesting coincidences, it is very bad for Hibiscus Ė the product is Malathion.
3. Meanwhile, there are scores of homemade insect controls that are completely organic that do a great job of melting away Mealy Bugs that you donít have to threaten to burn a Hibiscus with a chemical. These are two from my webpage:
Plus, if you donít mind using a chemical, there are two products that work great at controlling Mealy Bugs on Hibiscus. Liquid Bifenthrin insecticide is a great all-purpose product. Just as for anything with Bifenthrin. Secondly, liquid systemic products with Acephate are great for longer-term controls. Make sure the active ingredient is Acephate.
4. Phorrid Flies have been talked about for all kinds of insect controls for years, including Fire Ants, and for nearly 20 years, Iíve never seen it commercially available. On the humorous side, if you Google search Phorid Flies, there are plenty of pages on controlling Phorid Flies when THEY are a problem.
5. Hereís what a Phorrid Fly looks like, and hereís what a bumble bee looks like. Not anywhere close in resemblance, but then Iíll let you be the judge.
While we are sort of on the subject of Hibiscus and the inherent Mealy Bug problem, hereís chronicle of all the Hibiscus Tip Sheets Iíve ever written for my weekly email tips.