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Hello TF'ers,

I'm having an issue with two of my nepenthes. One is a hybrid of N. (ventricosa x sibuyanensis) x burkei and the other is a nice seed grown N. burbidgeae.

The hybrid nep has been going down hill for the last month or so, and at first I thought perhaps I over fertilized it because I was getting some stunting, well now it appears that is not the case as I have now noticed these little white spots all over the pitchers, tendrils and growth tip. The hybrid looks like its probably a lost cause, but I really like like to save the burbidgeae, its one of my favs. Luckily its no where near as bad as the hybrid is and is still growing albeit slower and with less size.

I can't figure out if its some kind of fungal body I'm seeing or if its a remnant of some kind of pest insect. Unfortunately I don't have any means to take better photos as my camera is out of commission so will have to make due with these crummy cell phone telephone pics.

Here is a picture of the hybrid:

Here is a picture of a leaf I excised from the N. burbidgeae :

The environmental parameters are as follows.

Day time temp: 76.5º-78.5º
Night time temp: 57.5º-60.5º
Day time humidity: 75%-80%
Night time humidity: 85%-95%

Primary humidity using an ultrasonic fogger with secondary humidification consisting of an over head MistKing setup.

14 hour photoperiod consisting of 1400 watts of LEDs and 4 x48" T5HO 6500K fluorescents.

I'd very much appreciate any help, if theres any more data I left out that would be helpful in determining a diagnosis, let me know.

Thank you,
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That looks like a very severe mealybug infestation to me. Make sure you isolate the plants from the rest of your collection, then get some insecticide on those plants ASAP and you may be able to save them. You should be able to use neem oil or pyrethrin and probably others as well though I am not familiar with many insecticides.

Edit: If it's whitefly, shaking the plant should result in some of them flying around.
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If your plants are isolated and beneficial insects (bees) cannot access them then:-
1. Spray asap with an insecticide containing Thiacloprid. Follow the instructions supplied with the product. Do not use on or near flowering plants if bees have access
2. Buy a decent magnifying glass so you know what you're looking at in future
thanks guys for the speedy replies. I know its not whitefly, I've felt with that before on my lemon trees.

All my plants are grown in a large chamber, because of this they're all rather close to one another. I've taken out the hybrid and its no longer in the chamber, since I'm not confident I can save it. However the N. burbidgeae is still in the chamber. I don't really have a place to isolate the infected plants, I can work on making something but its going to take me a few days, I'll start on it today.

Considering all my plants are grown close together in an enclosed area would it be a good idea to prophylactically treat all the plants? I have a lot of expensive rare plants in there, some I'm not confident I'd be able to find and replace if I lost them.

Reading some of those threads, I'm really nervous about this whole situation.

Theres lots of ideas on treatment, does anyone with experience in treating this have a specific treatment regimen?

FWIW, the plant this all started from came from a vendor in california.

EDIT: after reviewing my records it wasn't a vender in cali that the plant came from it was a vender in NY. Possibly by way of Hawaii....
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Searching the Web on "hibiscus snow scale control" isn't very encouraging. A few Hibiscus sites say to use a horticultural oil as being the most effective. Oils and CPs generally do not mix but if the plant is a write off perhaps you might want to risk it. Home brews of alcohol, soap and water wipe downs between insecticide treatments may help. One formula I had (though I don't remember the proportions) was something like 1 part 409 cleaner, 1 part rubbing alcohol, 4 parts water. I've used this on Sarracenia without adverse effects.

You might even try a hot water spray.

Spring 2013: Hot Water Treatments to Control Pests - UC Nursery and Floriculture Alliance (UCNFA) News
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Don't mess around, use a systemic. Thiacloprid and Imidacloprid are very effective and have never damaged any of my plants. You must follow the manufacturer's direction for use. I would suggest your entire collection will require treatment by now.
What Fred said. Use a systematic and carefully check your entire collection.
And don't let bees get near the plant if you use Imidacloprid!
  • #10
I just placed an order for Talstar Pro, should be here in pretty quick as I payed for the speediest shipping. Talstar Pro was what was recommended to me by one of TF's masters, so thats what I'll go with.

In the meantime is there anything I can do for a few days until the talstar gets here? like swab the N. burbidgeae with alcohol?

I also contacted the vender the plant came from informing him he may need to quarantine his plants and warn some of his other clients of the potential threat. It seems these hibiscus snow scale is coming out of a specific Hawaiian nursery FWIW. If you want to know specifically where I got it you can PM me.

From now on I'm going to be a bit more cautious when it comes to where my plants come from, Sucks I had to learn this the hard way. In the 12 years or so of collective grow experience this is the first major pest I've had to deal with.... :(
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  • #11
Don't forget to acquire a good magnifying glass
  • #12
The active ingredient of Talstar is bifenthrin - one of the pyrethrin insecticides. It's a "contact" insecticide which are not effective on armored scale such as Hibiscus Snow Scale (Pinnaspis strachani) except during the crawler phase. The product label lists "Brown soft scale" and "Scale crawlers such as California scale, San Jose scale etc.". So timing of application is critical.

http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/msds/Talstar P-CASE (4 gallons) Label.pdf

Pinnaspis strachani


The first stage after hatching is the only nymphal stage with legs, so the insects are called crawlers. Crawlers may stay under the maternal armor several hours until outside conditions, especially temperature and humidity, are good. After they leave the cover, they wander for a period ranging from minutes to days, but usually a few hours. At the end of the wandering period they flatten against the leaf or stem and begin to secrete their armor (Beardsley and Gonzalez, 1975).


Insecticide mode of action and formulation are important because the armor covers and protects all stages but the crawler and the adult male. Contact insecticides target the crawlers stage; systemics target adult females and nymphs, as well as male nymphs. Since scales have natural enemies, care must be taken to conserve these. Populations of other pests, such as white flies and other scales, may rise if their natural enemies are affected by chemical control. Spraying should be determined by presence of scales in the field rather than by the calendar. Scales are best detected by regularly inspecting all areas of the fields for scales. When detected, directing spray at hot spots rather than uninfested areas helps conserve natural enemies and also delay pesticide resistance.

In the packing house, insecticidal soaps can be used in the cleaning water to kill crawlers while scrubbing off adults. Dipping without scrubbing in a soap-pyrethroid solution for five minutes is only 70% effective against adults and nymphs (Hansen et al. 1992). Even though scales are killed, it takes several days for the body to dry, so removal of the armor is required to assure inspectors that the plant material is insect free.

So I would do a scrub down to remove the scale phases. Take care to change clothes and wash down after contact with the infested plants and handling other plants. The crawlers can be transferred on your hands, clothing and hair.
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  • #13
what would one use to scrub it down with? Would alcohol work?

If so I'm thinking scrub down the plant/s that are visibly infected with some alcohol or maybe the talstar? (or whatever) repot the plant with fresh substrate and then treat with the talstar. I'm expecting this will take several rounds of treatment. then topically treat the rest of the "healthy" plants as well. or treat everything as if they're all infested as a precaution.
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  • #14
For goodness sake. Use a systemic and there's no need to scrub down, change clothes and shower.

The way you're heading you're going to have reinfection after reinfection after reinfection ad nauseum.
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