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Mystery indoor bugs??

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
by Cricket on May 26, 2004 06:32 AM
My indoor potted umbrella has developed black specks hanging from its stems and leaves. I haven't actually seen anything move, but I suspect an unwanted pest. I have tried repeated soapy washes but doesn't seem to rid the plant of them. I also have an indoor gardenia with suspected spider mites (fine, white cobwebs) that I haven't rid of with soapy washes either. Could the two be related? The umbrella doesn't have cobwebs and the gardenia not black specks. What can I try that is organic and safe to use around small pets?
by Cricket on May 26, 2004 06:36 AM
Forgot to specks hang from the underside of leaves and sides and tops of stems. Stems that have been damaged or pruned seem to have a higher concentration on their tops. Thanks for any suggestions.

by weezie13 on May 27, 2004 03:29 AM
Hello Cricket,
Welcome to The Garden Helper's Forum!
We are very glad you found us!!!

I'm not too sure about your answer but I wanted to let you know that I am going to move your post, just so you know and put it into the House Plant Section....
A few of the gardeners will come along and see if they can help you in a bit! We have several gardeners that are strictly house plant gardener's and they'll be better to help you!!!!!!

There's alot of Very Nice People here and all nice to talk to!
There's a little bit of everyone here, from the Master Gardener to The Brand New Gardener and everything in between.!!!

There's alot of stuff here, so take a peak around and check out all the new sections we've added!
There's alot of fun here!

Welcome Again!


P.S. We also have alot of Canadian gardener's here as well!!! So, so Hello when you see them!

* * * *

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

by Will Creed on May 31, 2004 03:32 AM

Can you provide a more detailed description of the "hanging black specks." How big are they, what shape are they, and what do you mean by hanging?

Do you have a photo?

Will Creed
by Cricket on June 04, 2004 06:36 AM
Thanks for responding, Will. Unfortunately, I'm unable to get a good close-up photo...the tiny,round, black specks have now turned into long (approx 1/16"), narrow brown, raised spots on the underside of the leaves, with a dusty colored gray/white powder on the tops of the leaves, and in the areas with the greatest concentration,especially the stems, resemble fuzz, as if no one has dusted for years! I described the black specks as "hanging" because they didn't appear tight to the surface they were clinging to. I see no evidence of webs. Any suggestions are appreciated!
by slowjane on June 04, 2004 11:07 PM
hi cricket -

do the spots come off if you rub them? it sounds like it could be scale - which looks like brown smooth bumps but is actually a bug that clings to the leaf.
here's a description.

does that fit with what you're seeing?

by Cricket on July 13, 2004 10:04 AM
Thanks for the could be scale but the raised spots are considerable smaller than 1/4". I thought I had rid the plant of most of them by repeated soapy washings and pruning the most infected brances, but in the past couple of weeks they are returning. If they are scale, any suggestions how to remove them without using pesticides? I have a small dog and cat and also wish to be environmentally friendly! I have heard a rumor that garlic washes can rid a plant of insects but would like that confirmed before trying as I wouldn't want to inadvertently harm the plant.
by Mel on July 13, 2004 10:16 AM
Hello Cricket,

I have used garlic washes on several of my plants to rid them of bugs (mostly aphids). I crush a few cloves of garlic and steap them in water. Caution - the smell of this concoction is truly horrific. I then take a small amount of my garlic solution & dilute it (one part solution to five or eight parts water, depending on how strong it is) Sorry I can't be more specific, but the longer it sits the stronger it gets. I then mist my plants with the solution and repeat if I water or it rains. I also test new plants by spraying only a small part of it to see how it reacts to the garlic... I hope this helps.


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