Monsters In My Ficus

Discussion in 'Plant Pests, Diseases and Weeds' started by Weedscaper, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. Weedscaper

    Weedscaper New Seed

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    I have a ficus plant, about 1 foot tall which I have grown up from a tiny sprig. I'm very attached to it, but it is currently in bad shape.

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    About half of the leaves are curled up tightly with brown spots. This picture shows how the leaves are bent to form a "pouch."

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    While I was taking pictures for this post, I decided to open up one of the leaves, and out crawled a little monster.

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    Is there anything I can do to save my precious ficus?
     
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  3. Islandlife

    Islandlife Young Pine

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    Not sure but it doesn't look good :( :(
     
  4. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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  5. Ronni

    Ronni Young Pine

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    Oh My God!!!! That is so freaking creepy! Had it been me, I would have run screaming from my house and possibly never returned!!! :eek::eek::eek:

    (Not an overreaction in my case. I am genuinely phobic about creepy crawlies. Panic attacks etc when I come upon one unexpectedly. Entomophobia.)

    I hope you find a solution to your monster problem.
     
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  6. Weedscaper

    Weedscaper New Seed

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    Thanks very much, it is the dreaded Thrip. I do let the plant get too dry sometimes, and that has contributed to the problem according to this article. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden....d-problems/insects/thrips/thrips-indoors.aspx

    These aliens are living in the soil of the pot as teenagers and then they migrate up to living inside the crumpled leaf pouches they've created where they lay eggs. If I don't stop the cycle, that will be it for the ficus, so I need to get on this today.

    This is a great web site and a great forum! Mucho thanko
     
  7. Weedscaper

    Weedscaper New Seed

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    Since I am hopped up on coffee and lack of sleep I decided to get right on this project.

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    I started snipping off the infected leaves and tossing them into a bucket. PICT0003.JPG
    It took me just a few minutes to finish cutting them off of Frank (that's the name of the ficus) and he sure did look good. PICT0006.JPG
    By then the bucket was crawling with 146 Thrips! (See photo.) There is a show on cable named "Monsters Inside Me" which, whenever I watch it, my face and scalp begin to itch. Same thing! PICT0007.JPG
    I decided to execute them. During my research I read that they can infect a lawn and a variety of plants, so I did not want to take any chances. I put blue tape around the edge of the bucket and filled it with water. PICT0013.JPG

    The little poops were good swimmers, and able to crawl up the side of the bucket. I considered my options and dumped some rubbing alcohol in the bucket. Cruel but effective. This created strange currents in the bucket and I watched them swirl here and there then then become very still. Half of them had sunk to the bottom.

    Over the next two hours I made lunch and took a trip to the garden center to purchase some Organocide spray. After I applied it to the ficus, it was time to deal with the corpses in the bucket.

    I revisited the bucket, where all was still. I took off the blue tape, and dumped the water near a tree stump out back. Many of the Thrips stuck to the side of the bucket. As I was walking back to the house, some motion in the bucket caught my eye: they were coming back to life. That's right, Zombie Monster Thrips! How many? Around half of them had come back to life!

    I decided on a low tech solution. I got a paper towel and manually mashed them. I then went to the area where I poured out the water and sprayed some Organocide. My face is still itching.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
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  8. Weedscaper

    Weedscaper New Seed

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    My face has stopped itching. I forgot to show this leaf with mysterious lumps in it. It could be a separate problem, since the leaves with the bugs were curled up and had brown spots.

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    I'm frightened to image what might come out of there. Maybe I should get my scalpel and butane charcoal starter. My head just started itching again.
     
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  9. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    I would get rid of any leaves with those blisters on them. I have a feeling they are where the thrips have laid their eggs and, before you know it, they will go the same way as the other leaves have. Better to be safe than sorry by removing them as soon as possible.
     
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  10. waretrop

    waretrop Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    That's about creepy......yuk....I have seen those lumps on leaves....I have learned something about buggers today......thanks.
     
  11. Weedscaper

    Weedscaper New Seed

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    Eileen, you made me think twice. I decided to clip that lumpy leaf and I've stuck it in a jar. It is sitting outside next to the pot so it will get sunshine. I will report back if anything emerges.
     
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