Orchid Pests

There are a wide variety of possible orchid pests. I can only describe some of the more common ones here, but feel free to ask questions or talk about your own pest battles below! Orchid weeds are pests of a different enough category that they have their own page.

If you keep your plants outdoors, they have a much greater chance of being exposed to pests than if you keep them indoors. So if you live in a temperate climate, inspect your plants thoroughly when you bring them indoors for the winter!

It's also a good idea to check new plants for pests before adding them to your collection. Serious orchidists might want to have a separate quarantine area for new plants, and keep them there for a month or two to monitor for pests, diseases, and weeds. These are some of the more common types of orchid pests:

  • Snails and Slugs: If you start noticing holes eaten into your plants' leaves, these are likely culprits. Their slime trails may also give them away. They tend to come out at night, so it might be advisable to do midnight raids with a flashlight and squish any of the evil critters you find! There are also pellets that you can spread around your orchid collection that will attract them and poison them. Caterpillars and grasshoppers can cause similar damage, but I've never had trouble with them indoors.
  • Scale insects: These bugs have tiny larvae that crawl around your plant. Then, as adults, they latch onto the plant somewhere (usually in an out-of-the way place,) start sucking its juices, and hide under a waxy covering that looks a lot like a lizard's scale (hence the name.) Though many pesticides will work against these, most don't work very well because the scales protect them so well. There are insecticidal soaps that will stick to them and are effective. The best approach I've found is to rub them off with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol, then spray a conventional insecticide on the plant.
  • Aphids: These bugs crawl around a plant, sucking its sap, and often exude a sticky secretion. They are particularly fond of flower stems. They're pretty easy to defeat. Most pesticides will work, and I've had good luck with a spray bottle containing diluted isopropyl alcohol. Something as simple as washing them off with a hose can work too.
  • Mealybugs: These are sap-sucking insects that like to hide in hard-to-reach places on the plant. Treat them much like scale insects.

Write about your own battles with orchid pests

Talk about your own epic struggle with an orchid pest! Other readers will certainly benefit from your experience, and this is a good place to ask questions! (I'll try to answer if I can.) Pictures are especially helpful in identifying pests.

Other Visitors' Pest Battles

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White spots 
Help I don't know what's wrong with my orchid! :( It is blooming beautifully, but it has developed these rough white spots on the leaves, some are raised …

Housecats as Orchid Pests Not rated yet
The common housecat, Felis catus , is a dangerous orchid pest! Most orchids are not toxic to them, so they are apt to become playthings, or even be eaten! …

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