Re: Nepenthes soil pests

Date: Wed Mar 10 1999 - 20:22:36 PST

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:22:36 EST
Message-Id: <aabcdefg747$foo@default>
Subject: Re: Nepenthes soil pests

In a message dated 99-03-10 14:45:38 EST, you write:

 Good day, I'm new to this subscriber list and am anxious to learn
 from all you. I have two pitcher plants, as well as a Nepenthes
 My question relates to the Nepenthes....
 For the most part it's okay, but it has started to lose its lower
 leaves. A little rusting (which I've read is okay...) but also
 yellowing, then blackening. I've checked the soil and discovered
 these wormy looking things. About 1 to 2 cm long, wiggling about.
 A local nursury suggested that they're gnat larvae, but I don't
 think so. Nematodes? They're not on the surface, but within the
 I think my cultivation techniques are okay. The plant is located
 near a humidifier and receives plenty of light. I might miss a
 watering, and I have left it sitting in water a couple of times--not
 too often, and I use distilled water.
 Any information would be great!
 Nita Stull

Dear Nita,

I have seen a similar 'worm' in my plants on occasion and they may be Crane
Fly larva. The adults can be 1/2 to 4" in diameter, most of which is legs
(they are very long-legged), they have two obvious wings normally held flat
against the surface they are resting on. At night one of the two sexes (not
sure which) can be seen hanging below a Nepenthes basket swinging back and
forth, wings beating, presumably to attract a mate. It is my understanding
the eggs are laid in the media and the larva then damage the roots. The
adults are harmless but look like giant mosquitos. Because of this look I
have heard them refered to here in the south as 'Gallanippers' (Gallon-
nippers) because it was thought that a 'mosquito' that big must take out a
gallon or so. We also have 'lightnin' bugs' = fireflies, 'mosquito hawks' =
dragonflies, and 'scorpions' = any skink supposedly possesing a poisonous
bite. I once saw this last creature, a harmless 5" lizard, chase a 250 lb man
out of garage!

Anyway back to subject, Probably any good soil drench insecticide that is
safe for Nepenthes will kill them off, if they are indeed insects. Wettable
Malithion is a relatively harmless one, or you can use a systemic like Cygon
2E, BUT follow the instrunctions as this is relatively toxic. It does have the
added benefit of destroying scale, mites, thrips, and these larva all at once.
I use this with caution, and work upwind, wear gloves, etc.


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