Orchid Growing Tips

How to Keep the Bugs From Bugging Your Orchids


Orchid Pest PreventionI was reading a post over at “The Good Thing – About Gardening” called “Keeping Bugs Out of Your Garden”. It was discussing organic approaches to prevent pest problems instead of controlling them after the fact. My mind went to how this could apply to orchids of course.

Caring for orchids involves good maintenance of your orchids.  This means that you can’t allow your garden to be an unsightly mess.  You wouldn’t leave your living room or den in shambles, would you?  Then, why leave your garden in the same condition?

Leaving your garden unorderly and littered with scattered leaves, twigs, and weeds will indicate to the pests lying in wait that it’s safe to come out.  They’ll be saying, “Hey, the coast is clear!  The owner isn’t keeping track of his/her garden. Dinnertime!”

To keep this scenario from happening, you simply need to keep your garden free of clutter and debris.  This will alert those nasty pests that you’re on the up-and-up and keeping an eye out for those intruders – this will make them think twice about invading your garden.

Some of these invaders that you should keep an eye out for are the following:


Another reason to keep those dead leaves out of your yard is that it will invite some of these invaders, especially the mealybugs, to come feast.

Additionally, getting some help to aid you in your battle against these bugs is always a good idea.  Here are a few suggestions for orchid growers:

  • Allowing ladybugs and spiders to inhabit your garden – your first thought is probably, “No, I don’t want any bugs in my garden, as none of them are any good.”  Guess what? Some bugs are actually GOOD for your orchid garden because they actually keep the bad pests away or eat the ones that venture too close to your garden.  Therefore, invite the ladybugs and spiders to your orchid garden for additional support.
  • Make sure to know the correct amount of water, temperature, humidity, fertility, and light that your specific orchids need.  Having the wrong amounts could invite the bad bugs to your garden.  Consult some orchid books to find the exact specifications that your orchids need for optimal growth and minimal bug infestations.
  • Make sure to control ants, which are naturally attracted to the fluid excreted by orchids.  Otherwise, the bad bugs will have an ally of their own in the ant, which protects aphids, soft scales, and mealybugs from natural enemies like spiders and ladybugs.

Therefore, being clean, being proactive, and being exact in the requirements that your orchids need are key to growing beautiful, healthy orchids AND keeping the nasty insects from entering your orchid garden and preying on them.

Please let me know what you think by posting a comment below — let me know what you do to keep the pests away. Thank you!

For more things to look out for with your orchids, here are 5 Warning Signs Your Orchids Are in Trouble.

Your Comments

18 Comments so far

  1. Nila says:

    What chemical is best for black ants attacking flowers on my vanda and dendrubium
    Will Sevin and what dosage do I use?

  2. Richard Wall says:

    Blitzem…( slug bait )….and
    NEEM OIL..diluted in hot water and sprayed onto your orchids leaves ( top and bottom )each week for a few weeks will keep your plants clean of all sorts of pests…( they won’t like the smell or taste ) your garden too..it’s natural and organic…

  3. Brenda Greenidge says:

    I keep an eye out all the time for pests, I have seen some ants (crazy ones) running on the flower buds of a vanda orchid which I have hanging outside on the hand rail of my backdoor so I have sprayed them with a mild pest control that has worked so far, the orchid is planted in a hanging wire basket with coconut fibre (the dried one) which gives the roots so much air and room to push outside, I got the vanda without a flower so i do not know the colour as yet,there was a fungus on it and i sprayed a fungicide and I give it some orchid food about every other week or so, cannot wait to see the flowers though there are about six buds, have a few other types too also budding, will report on those as they come into flowering, some phals that are struggling but I have been following your instructions on all the orchid types. Happy holidays to you and your family, and to all readers.

    • Mary Ann says:

      Thanks, Brenda! 🙂 Happy Holidays to you as well. It sounds like you’re doing a great job. Keep it up! Let us know how it’s going. – Mary Ann

  4. Brenda Greenidge says:

    Thank you too Mary-Ann, well I have a picture of a vanda Chao Moh Phrya Classic a beautiful yellow or gold whichever it comes across to your eyes, it bloomed despite the leaves having some spots from fungus which was on the plant when I bought it, as I said it was not even potted just a bare plant and it has come a long way since I got it about four to five months ago, two of the pics will show it hanging on the back step and the other inside the house,sorry should have take it out on a different background inside but I did not realise this until I had hung it back up and strapped it back on the rail ouside. I live in the caribbean island of Trinidad so I think the conditions are just ideal,Enjoy and tell me what you think Mary please. Oops please tell me how to get the photos to this page. Brenda

  5. Pam says:

    Hi Mary Ann
    What’s the best way to keep ants out of the greenhouse generically ? Occasionally I will find an infested pot I never knew had ants until I soaked it and then there is a mass exodus

    • Mary Ann says:

      There are several natural options for dealing with ants. Here are some of those:
      • Sprinkle some baking soda around your plants as it is poisonous for ants and is sure to keep them away.
      • Spray a mixture of half and half vinegar and water on your plants and the strong acetic acid in the vinegar will kill ants.
      • Sprinkle some chili powder, cinnamon, black pepper, peppermint or coffee grounds around the greenhouse or the plants, as they all keep the ants away.
      • Last but not least, you can mix borax powder along with sugar and water and dip them in cotton balls and place them near anthills. The ants will eat the sweet mixture, but the borax powder will kill them.
      – Mary Ann

  6. Pam says:

    I have tried the boric acid/ sugar water approach but probably with not continuity. I DID although , put boric acid in a plant that was infested and killed the plant. I think the acidity was too much, that’s why I worry abt vinager / baking soda.
    ( anything that dramatically will change pH if soil?
    Thank heavens they are NOT in my orchids yet.
    PS. I want to get your cymbidium handbook but is it only for kindle? I want plant type books ” to hold”.. My kindle is old with no color and not the same as holding a book.

    • Mary Ann says:

      If you dilute the vinegar, you shouldn’t have any trouble. If you are concerned though, do one of the other methods that will be around the plant and not directly on the plant. 🙂 Thanks! – Mary Ann

  7. Simon tietze says:

    Thank you Mary Ann for another wonderful, informative blog!!! I just love reading them and learning that little bit more for helping me to keep my orchids as beautiful as they are!!!
    I have some wonderful pictures of my cymbids which are just now beginning with their show. In your last email you invited your readers to send in pictures – please could you supply me with the details again as I would love to show your readers how beautiful and rewarding (as if they don’t already know! !) Growing orchids is. Thank you Mary Ann once again and look forward to reading more and learning more!
    Kind regards,

    • Mary Ann says:

      Hi Simon, Thank you so much for your kind comments. 🙂 I will email you, and we’d love to see your orchids and hear more about what you are doing. 🙂 – Mary Ann

  8. Carol says:

    Hi Mary Ann, we have problems with slugs eating new buds but have found by putting copper tape around the outside of the pot they can’t climb into the plant. Also by sprinkling ant sand around the bottom of you pots helps to keep the ants out. Love reading your posts. Regards Carol.

  9. Fay says:

    Hi,Mary Ann
    Thank you so much for information that I have gotten from you. I’m nature lover my life is going every day with take care of my plants I have read your wonderful articles and learning much from you.Thanks again Dear Maty Ann

    • Mary Ann says:

      You’re so welcome! 🙂 It’s always lovely to hear that this is helping people. Thank you so much for letting us know. – Mary Ann

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