Y’All Ready For This? I’m Not

So “this” was inevitable, wasn’t it?  After the epic battle with the fungus gnats (which is still ongoing, 2 months and counting, although I think I am winning that battle), my poor house plants are so stressed from the treatment and the feeding of the gnat larva that it was inevitable the other opportune insects would begin to take advantage.

I first tweeted about the aphids I was finding at the end of January.  I did some pruning and hosed off the first plant (right there you know there’s no happy ending here) and hoped for an end to the story.

Two weeks later, more aphids–not on the original plant, but on others, no where near the first.  This is not good.  I would say those plants went to the  “compost heap” with the first (which did, before the snowfall) but since that’s now buried under feet of snow the trash can is going to have to substitute for now.

On the plus side, maybe this will finally help control those pesky gnats.

The scale on my  basil, an edible plant, is not something I mess with.  This is one of those tender perennial basils, ocimum basilicum ‘Pesto Perpetuo.’  Well, it was anyway before it got the scale and I took it to the compost pile.

On the plus side, this is about the latest it’s ever gotten scale.  Also, it was one of the most badly gnat-infested plants, so I’m solving 2 problems in one by composting this baby.

On the minus side, no more fresh basil for a few more months.

After everything that’s been going on with the plants this winter, however, I think I can live with that!

Interestingly enough, in both cases, it was the presence of “honeydew,” that shiny, sticky substance that the plant secretes when it’s under attack, that alerted me to the individual infestations.  I found each while I was watering.  Take an extra 2 seconds and look at your plants. You can save yourself a lot of heartache that way.

A week ago, I spied a few spider mites on an orchid.  I hosed it down and hoped for the best.  So far that orchid is fine.  Unfortunately, one of my lovely little ‘Twinkle’ oncidiums was so badly infested by spider mites Sunday when I came around to water again (dang those things reproduce fast!  And no, the two weren’t really all that near to one another–but as  spider mites go, a slight breeze is all it takes to move them!  Even a draft from the heat could have done it–so it too bit the dust this past weekend.  What will be next?)

This is a prime example of how “ecosystems” (be they indoor or outdoor) get stressed when under attack by a pest or disease.  And once under attack, they are vulnerable to more pests and diseases. I’m waiting for the fungi to start next.  Ugh!

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