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Garden Pests and Diseases: What are these bugs on my hibiscus?

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allieninja
Brooklyn, NY

December 16, 2012
12:53 PM

Post #9359956

Hello, I was wondering if anyone could help me figure out what these bugs are on my hibiscus? I brought it inside for the winter and it is under a grow light. I did not see/notice these on the plant while it was outside during the summer. Are they harmful? If so, what should I do to get rid of them?

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ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

December 16, 2012
1:01 PM

Post #9359964

The green things are aphids, not sure if the white ones are also aphids or something else. Insecticidal soap works pretty well on aphids (or just rinsing the plant off in the sink). But make sure you keep an eye out and repeat the treatment a few times--if you miss even one they reproduce very quickly so if you treat it once and then ignore it for a week you might be right back to where you started from.
OCCAROL
Santa Ana, CA
(Zone 10b)

December 16, 2012
4:16 PM

Post #9360132

The white ones are their shed exo-skeletons.
allieninja
Brooklyn, NY

December 16, 2012
7:00 PM

Post #9360253

Do they hurt the plant?
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

December 16, 2012
7:21 PM

Post #9360277

Yes, if you don't do anything about them they can hurt the plant. They suck the juices out of the leaves and eventually the leaves will die if they get sucked on enough. I've never had aphids actually kill a plant (although I've never just left them alone when I find them either), but I highly recommend getting rid of them because they reproduce very quickly and the more you let them reproduce the harder it'll be to get the infestation under control.
allieninja
Brooklyn, NY

December 16, 2012
7:52 PM

Post #9360293

Ahh, that explains why most of the buds have fallen off. Thanks for the tip, I just sprayed the bud they were on with vegetable wash (it was the best thing I had, didn't want to kill the bud with harsh dish soap) and then rinsed a bunch until all the bugs were off.

I'm hoping they just came in from outside when I transferred the plant in, I'd hate to think that aphids are getting in my house somehow (shudder).
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

December 16, 2012
9:08 PM

Post #9360320

They are disgustingly resourceful. Remember, they do not need a male to reproduce. All you needed was one blasted aphid, and it was off to the races. So if you had ONE, thet was enough.

I put my roses in the back of the garage every winter, and every April when I pull them out one particular rose (Enfant du France) that leafs out really early has literally thousands of those disgusting things. The worst part is that they would get all over me and I would be covered in aphids.

What always works is a sharp spray of water 3-4 days in a row. Once they've fallen, as the ad goes, they can't get up. But it's winter, for heaven's sake. Here it is going up into the mid-40's every day so I could take the plant outside and spray it. The catch with insecticidal soap (and yes, it does work) is that you have to get them all. Can you put the plant in the bathtub and use the shower spray? You will need to do it several days in a row, but it does work.

We moved our hibiscuses from outside to inside. It's really important to treat them before you bring them in.

Just be glad they aren't spider mites. Those guys are relentless. I put my miniature rosees (zone 5) back outside in the cold to get rid of them, but I actually had to pitch a brug because daily watering and insecticidal soap didn't work, and you can't shoe a brug outside in a zone 5a winter.
allieninja
Brooklyn, NY

December 17, 2012
12:28 PM

Post #9360784

The aphids were luckily only on one bud, so I was able to get them all off with the spray hose in the sink. The bud started opening this morning so it looks happier already. I'm hoping I didn't miss any.

Can anyone tell me a good brand of insecticidal soap to get, for if/when this happens in the future?
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

December 17, 2012
1:03 PM

Post #9360811

There are several brands in Garden shops, Safer's was probably the first- Natrol is a good brand too. Lowe's has a good selection of safe organics- read your labels--
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

December 17, 2012
3:12 PM

Post #9360914

I've used Safer's. It's very good. Even better is if you can get the concentrate and dilute it yourself.

Congratulations on winning the battle! I love hibiscus.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

December 17, 2012
5:56 PM

Post #9361049

I like Safer soap as well.

And make sure you inspect your plant carefully every day or two--aphids are sneaky and if you miss even one it'll turn into 100 before you know it, so you need to keep an eye out for them.
DonnaMack
Elgin, IL
(Zone 5a)

December 17, 2012
7:03 PM

Post #9361099

Ecrane, very very true!

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