The Avengers are Back!!!

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by Karenska, Jun 8, 2015.

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  1. Karenska

    Karenska Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Little Gables, Miami, FL
  2. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Great photo, Karen!
     
    Karenska likes this.
  3. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Esteemed Member

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    1,460
    Location:
    DAVIE FL
    Soon we will have better control over these scale insects,just like the spiral whitefly that was going crazy a few years back,hardly see much of them these days
     
  4. palmisland

    palmisland Well-Known Member

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    1,262
    Location:
    West Boca Raton 10b
    Can you send me some of the white ones please???
     
  5. Native son

    Native son Well-Known Member

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    878
    Location:
    10a
    Yes that is nice, but what is this little piece of white slim? image.jpg
     
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  6. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

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    1,650
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Mealybug - not nearly as bad as the )(*&^%$#@! green scale.
    I've been using a mixture of sun coffee, Bayer 3:1, and agricultural oil with good success for all croton pests. The ag oil is necessary to smother mature scale insects since the waxy coating on them makes them pretty resistant to contact insecticides.
     
  7. palmisland

    palmisland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,262
    Location:
    West Boca Raton 10b
    That is a mealybug destroyer (mealybug predator). Pray for more!!!
     
  8. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

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    1,650
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    %#$#@!!!! I always confuse the two - yes, good bug!
     
  9. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

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    7,952
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Karen - its almost like the lady beetles know to come to your yard each late Spring
     
  10. kwtimo

    kwtimo Well-Known Member

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    586
    Location:
    key west, fl 10b-11
    Phil, while I like using oil base products for overall effective insect control, it has been my experience that I cannot use it except under deep shade conditions when the temperature is consistently above 82 due to its ability to fry plants. Have you had similar experiences?
     
  11. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,650
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    I try and apply the ag oil on a cloudy day or late in afternoon when most everything here is shady. I also try not to over-apply it; a little bit goes a long way to smother the little buggers
     
  12. Kingdavid

    Kingdavid Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,163
    Location:
    st lucie co
  13. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,650
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Google "mealybug destroyer" and you'll become an instant expert. Lots of info.
     
  14. Karenska

    Karenska Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Little Gables, Miami, FL
    Inasmuch as Moose encourages me to "come to the dark side" and use pesticides to keep the croton scale under control, I have only used several treatments of Organocide, Neem Oil and the "tea" made from coffee grounds well over a year ago with questionable results. The lack of success probably comes from my not applying it consistently enough. Fortunately, my yard is small enough that I have been able to use a chemical-free natural approach of a hard spray of water on the scale as they show up. As long as I am diligent, the results are excellent. The only problem is I'm using more water. I believe that keeping it natural has allowed "The Avengers" (as I call them) or "Mealybug Destroyers" to come to my aid. They showed up last year and totally gobbled up all of the scale in my yard. I'm glad to say that they're back. They remind me of the little Roomba vacuum cleaners.

    Here's a link to my video.

    Shop Online: http://www.arbico-organics.com/prod...m2CxvL_SUfUs1ajiXXEgGDf_orWw5UfzZbBoCb2fw_wcB
     
  15. palmisland

    palmisland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,262
    Location:
    West Boca Raton 10b
    I tried organics........I live 1/4 mile from the everglades, better living through chemistry:p
     
  16. palmisland

    palmisland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,262
    Location:
    West Boca Raton 10b
    Amazing huh, all but gone in just a few years.
     
  17. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

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    7,952
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Perhaps we should nickname the Avengers - Khan ?

     
  18. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

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    7,952
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Karen - my preference is to have the natural predators take care of the scale. I keep waiting for your Avengers to make their appearance here in the Moose Land. Johanna Coppinger and the Ethel Craig I got from Judy had an outbreak. Waited and waited for the Avengers to arrive but to no avail. All the new growth was getting covered with the scale so once again I turned to the dark side this morning ...

     
  19. Karenska

    Karenska Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Little Gables, Miami, FL
    I don't know if the Avengers could survive in your yard. You might not see them yet but also might not be giving them a welcome environment. If you only have a couple of infested plants, why not just use the Shane water torture method?
     
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  20. Kingdavid

    Kingdavid Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,163
    Location:
    st lucie co
    We actually got a couple here in Ft Pierce .......The scale was showing up and decide not to spray and low and behold they arrived ... We will see if they keep eating ......
     
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  21. Kingdavid

    Kingdavid Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,163
    Location:
    st lucie co
    060.JPG
     
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  22. palmisland

    palmisland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,262
    Location:
    West Boca Raton 10b
    Their kinda cute:)
     
  23. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,952
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    They did show up on my Key Lime tree several months back. Saw all the black lady beetles as well. Didn't treat the tree, the Avengers did their job.

    When it comes to the crotons, the scale spreads and multiples so rapidly here I just don't have the patience watching the plants decline. May be from all my fertilizing and succulent new growth that manifests these outbreaks. They love the tender new growth. Having so many crotons planted close together may be another reason rapid spread of the scale.
     
  24. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Ron, I think that is probably one of the main reasons. That's why I fertilize only with alfalfa pellets or soybean meal. Yes, they don't grow as quickly, but they are not as attractive to pests. The crotons still do well. This improves the soil as it fertilizes and attracts earth worms which improves the soil. The K-mag is also supposed to be allowed in organic gardening, so I do that too.

    I am so grateful to Keith for giving me the best advice when I was just starting with crotons. He told me to treat and quarantine every croton I got before I planted it out in the garden. I do this faithfully. I do nuke them when they are new to me and still in their pots. I quarantine them for a couple of weeks where the ants won't get to them. I check them carefully, and manually remove anything I see or altogether remove the new growths where the scale loves to hide. Only then, like Keith advised, will I plant them. Once they're planted, I don't put pesticides in the yard. I think there's been two exceptions which I treated when the infestation was young. Once with chemicals to the plant's roots, the other time I just pulled the plant, bagged it and threw it away.

    I am fortunate that only one of my adjacent neighbors has crotons and they are on the other side of their yard. Croton scale is also not as prevalent here as it is in South Florida, I don't think. I shouldn't be saying all this, because as things would have it, once I sound like I have the answers, I probably will be attacked with scale! So far I've been lucky, but I've followed Keith's advice faithfully from the start. Thanks, Keith!
     
  25. Karenska

    Karenska Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Little Gables, Miami, FL
    Tell me more about alfalfa pellets and soybean meal for fertilizing. Where do I get them? Thanks!
     
  26. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Hi Karen, I've been using mostly alfalfa pellets and sometimes soybean meal for years now. I use it exclusively on everything, except about once every couple of years I do use palm fertilizer on palms in addition to the organics. I think the organics work very well, but we have really worked at adding a lot of other organic material to our property (wood chip mulch, compost, coffee grounds, etc.). I get the alfalfa pellets and soybean meal at a cattle feed store for a reasonable price: $16-19/50lb. bag for alfalfa, about $25-26/50lb. bag for soybean meal. Don't get it at a nursery or pet store (rabbit feed), the prices will be much more expensive for tiny bags. The NPK's are: alfalfa- 3-1-2, and soybean-6-2-2, however, I feel the alfalfa works best, maybe because it has a hormone growth stimulant in it. Also, I'm trying to get away from the GMO in soybean meal, so now I mostly get alfalfa.

    One drawback to using alfalfa is that if you don't cover it with mulch, or if you pile it too high, it can smell after a few days and last for almost a week. For some reason, it doesn't happen like it used to, maybe my soil organism populations are high enough to break it down quickly now? Don't know, but it can stink at first unless you do it right. I never get more than an occassional seed sprouting, which is very easy to pull up. I have loads of good bugs, birds and bees in my garden now, and my soil has improved markedly. I think my garden appreciates it!

    Here are a few links for more info:

    http://learningandyearning.com/10-benefits-of-using-alfalfa-in-your-garden
    http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/234.html
    https://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000489_Rep511.pdf
     
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  27. kwtimo

    kwtimo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    586
    Location:
    key west, fl 10b-11
    Okay, so I know it may not seem like that big of a deal, but I found these whitefly on some banana leaves this morning while working at one of my accounts. Of course there were more on other leaves, and when I looked up at the Coconut palms that are above it, I saw some pretty sizable development of whitefly as well. There are more than two dozen Coconuts on this particular property, and at least 3 older large Gumbo Limbos too. I did not see the whitefly there last week. I have been noticing some development on plants at different properties around Key West though, and a minute amount around where I live in Stock Island. The property the banana is at is in Shark Key which is at MM 11. Just warning all of you and telling you to keep your eyes out:eek: CAM01091.jpg . Hopefully this will not escalate to the proportions that it did several years ago.
     
  28. Karenska

    Karenska Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Little Gables, Miami, FL
    Hi Anna,

    I was able to get a 50 pound bag of Summit brand Alfalfa Pellets from Sunset Feed for $16.95. How much do you use per plant that's well established? Do you pull the mulch back first and work it into the soil at the drip line? I have a few plants that have suffered dearly from the croton scale and are having a hard time coming back -- I'm hoping this will help them. By the way, I made a list of my crotons to photograph and post over the weekend. Stay tuned! And thanks for your help! Karen
     
  29. Native son

    Native son Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    878
    Location:
    10a
    That sucks Gumbo Limbos are the worst. I have seen small out breaks here hand spray and high pressure washing all the time.
     
  30. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Hi Karen,

    That's great that you're going to try the alfalfa. I'm sure there is no wrong way of doing it. I use maybe 2-3 cups per plant. I usually pull the mulch aside, apply it like a collar in and around the dripline and replace the mulch. It retains moisture, so I don't apply it very close to the trunk. I'm sure you can apply it on top, but with the alfalfa, if you don't want to smell it for a few days, covering it with mulch is the way to go. As soon as you water it, it will start disintegrating. It doesn't treat scale, of course, it just doesn't let them grow quite as fast because of the lower nitrogen, therefore you get less soft, yummy growth for the bugs. The plants do very well with it. Reportedly, rosarians have been using it for decades because of a growth factor/hormone it has. I use it all over my yard for everything. The good bugs love it. Since you can't apply too much (it will never burn the roots), I use it every couple of months to provide slow, steady growth. After a year or two you won't recognize your soil in these areas. We also get wood chip mulch by the truckload from tree companies to recycle as well as nourish our garden. That has worked amazingly well too. We also collect oak leaves from the neighborhood from our garden. In all my photos you will notice either oak leaves or wood chip mulch applied thickly in my beds. We love it and so do the plants.

    If you go back to the photo of Blotched Thanksgiving in 'A few from my garden', you may be able to see the collar of water-imbibed alfalfa around that plant. Good luck with your new endeavor!
     
  31. Jeff Searle

    Jeff Searle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,754
    Location:
    South Florida, USA
    Ha ha , :p Moose here using Jeff's computer. Alfalfa sprout fertilizer - do you get it at Whole Foods? I'm sold on the time released Harrell's, my stuff is looking real good with it. Checked on Karen's yard last week. The Avengers seem to be keeping the scale in check.

    Moose :mooseman
     

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