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What is eating my orchid? | Orchids Online
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What is eating my orchid?

My favourite orchid is being devoured by an unknown predator. She's a bit touch and go...I've been spraying a diluted fish and kelp mixture on her leaves twice a week for some rejuvenation, and have been watering the roots 3 times a week as per advice at my local nursery (I live in Cairns). It seems the leaves are being eaten, but by what? I'd appreciate any of your thoughts and advice on saving my "Sasha"! Jo

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Brevipalpus phoenicis

Hi Jo Jo,

this little pest loves humid condition, comes from South America and affects intermediate hardcanes as well.

Brevipalpus phoenicis (Geijskes) is a tropical-subtropical species that has been accidentally transported by man to many areas of North America and other parts of the world. It survives under greenhouse conditions beyond its natural range. This mite has an extensive host range and may cause economic damage, depending on the host. Mites in the family Tenuipalpidae are called false spider mites (they do not spin a web) or flat mites.

The damage starts on the leave tips on newish growth, I use my own white oil but you can get a commercial mitecite, the white oil smothers the breathing holes of the mite and it suffocates. You have to do this several times as the eggs are not affected. Also make sure it has not spread to other orchids,this can happen very fast.

Here is the White Oil receipt, it is good for other pests as well.
I got this from the Gardening Australia Programm a few years ago.

White oil receipt:

• Use two cups of vegetable oil (I’m an organic gardener, so I use sunflower oil because there’s no chance that it could be genetically modified) and half a cup of washing up liquid.

• Put those into a jar. Put the lid on and give it a good shake and you’ve got concentrated white oil.

• Label it and store this in a cool, dry place and it should last about three months. Remember to also label it with the dilution rate - two dessert spoons per litre of water.

I aquired this mite with a raffel plant that I did not quarantine!!
Good luck best regards Christine

Die you mites!

Oh dear. I'm off to the shops for sunflower oil right now. They've migrated over to my rose plants and onto another orchid!! yikes Thank you very much for your advice....you put in so much effort with orchids and now these critters are destroying it....i say...bring back the biff! ;) (yes, i'm slightly nutty when it comes to my plants).

Whats eating your orchid?

Hi Jojo, you may have spider mites, a very small red critter, which can devastate plants if it gets a hold on them. The white bleached out look is usually found only on the underside of the leaf, where you may find the eggs. If so wash them off with fresh water and then spray all your plants with a half strength mixed insecticide, covering the whole plant. Follow up a week later if you find more. Cymbidiums are usually the host plant for these mites. Good luck.


mite specific

Hey Davo I have to disagree with the remedy if it proves to be mites (red spider or whatever type it may be). Mites can be quite difficult to deal with if you choose the wrong solutions and in any case a half strength non-specific insecticide solution is heading for trouble as you risk breeding in some resistance to the future progeny of these critters. I do agree with the advice to cover the plants and the follow up advice is great.

Background info:-
Very detailed insight:-

I have found that by using a natural product called Eco-Oil on a regular basis I can control a number of problems which used to plague my shadehouse, mite infestation being one of them.

Regards wellsy

Regards wellsy

Spider mites

Hi Wellsy,I treated my red spider mite infestation as I outlined and found it to be very effective, by using an half strength solution it gives you the option to apply it stronger later should you need to. A good treatment for mites in general, is a product available from vets called Ivomec, it is used in the treatment of mites in aviary birds, though I have not tried it myself. I now use Neem oil as a preventative measure.


along the same lines

The Neem Oil is along the same lines as Eco-Oil....who knows...it's probably the same oil?

I still maintain it is not a good idea to use insecticides at less than the recommended strength...resistant insects are a definite possible outcome Davo.

Regards wellsy

Regards wellsy

Slow down guys.

I've spoken to Christine about this little problem, she had it herself, I mean her Phals had the problem and has the name of the mite and how to kill it.

She is on her way home from Sydney, should be on this afternoon with the answer.


mites maybe?

I am no expert with Phallies (the big man knows I have killed too many) but I think it could be mites Jo. If others agree with this diagnosis then you need to pull out bigger guns to treat them effectively. I'll wait for others to comment before I go further OK.

Regards wellsy

Regards wellsy


Whatever it is I think I have same (apparently) problem on one of my Rhynchostylis which is controlled by occasional applications of Confidor. I have not been able to find the cause but mites are a problem in my garden