What are they and how do I get rid of them?

Controlling pests of bamboo

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Re: What are they and how do I get rid of them?

Post by El-d »

I was just having another look and spotted what looks like an adult of whatever it is.
See attached pic

Maybe this will shed some light.


BTW. Chris, I sent a sample through but don't think one of these was on it.
Chris S
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Re: What are they and how do I get rid of them?

Post by Chris S »

Thanks Tim, received the sheaths and there was nothing living on them, just the wax.
Your latest picture certainly seems to confirm the presence of mealy bugs.
Treatment of these is not easy, apparently they can even hide in compost and feed around the roots, but I think they are more likely to be under the culm sheaths on bamboos. We tend to shun drastic drenches with environmentally disastrous pesticides in Europe. We like our bees and want to still have some pollinators around for our food crops. Injecting insecticide into the lower culm cavities has been suggested instead of a soil drench. Cutting to the ground, burning the culms and litter (duff in US) then removing 2 yr old culms every year for a few years is probably going to be most effective.
It doesn't help you now to say prevention is better than cure. Checking new plants is really difficult anyway, you have to know what you are looking for, and the insects can still keep a low profile for a few years, then build up when you aren't looking. It is just a real shame we introduced these in the first place. Bringing the plants in without proper procedures is certainly reckless, but the pests are so novel that maybe quarantine officers wouldn't know what to look for anyway.
I see loads of pictures of bamboos now with evidence of infestations, particularly scale, and the owners seem blissfully unaware. Are we moving to a situation where we just accept all bamboos will be loaded with nasty unsightly pests, and learn to live with it? Are we just going to wait until their predators are also introduced by mistake to even the ecological balance? It certainly is taking some of the fun out of growing bamboos.
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Re: What are they and how do I get rid of them?

Post by Tarzanus »

I've seen bamboos in local market completely covered with anything you can possibly imagine, mealy bugs, aphids, mites, scales... Lower leaves were covered with sap and dead insects, leaves were scarce already and plants weak. If I'd get them and would have to keep the green parts, I'd place them into an isolated greenhouse and drown them in neem oil. Well, most likely I'd just burn the culms and hope for the rhizomes to recover.

Ladybugs larvae is feeding on all of the mentioned vermin. When their numbers can still be controlled, ladybugs can easily keep their numbers low. Insecticides will sadly kill them just as fast or faster, so it's always the last and worst option. I hope you can get rid of it!
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Re: What are they and how do I get rid of them?

Post by johnw »

We haven't asked how big this bamboo is. If still in a pot with a dozen or so culms this is what I would do. First I'd remove all sheaths and burn them, they are hiding places inpervious to treatment. Then I would start at the base of the culms and rub the culms with a soft wash cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol. The cloth should be quite moist but not wet enough to drip in quantity onto the soil. This may need repeating in 2 weeks time if more bugs appear to be present. I suppose a good drench of Provado might be in order, in which case you must be certain that when you water for the following 10 days you do not overwater to the point water comes out of the bottom otherwise you will be diluting your drench. In short it takes 10 days for the Provado to fully uptake and that will provide some protection from the inside out.

I have had to do this with bamboos that arrived from a reputable nursery, they were infested with just about everything possible. How anyone could have been oblivious to that is beyond me as the plants are handled by so many people down the chain of command. I hand-washed every leaf with q-tips or cloth soaked in various things, fiorst soapy water, then alcohol, then organic insecticides & miticides and burnt leaves with webs on multiple ocassions. I won the battle but it ruined my summer and their reputation for me.
johnw coastal Nova Scotia
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