Bugs On Hibiscus Plants: How to Treat A Tropical Hibiscus With Sticky Leaves
Honeybees are very important in our life. They pollinate many fruits and vegetables.
Honeybee colonies have been dying out due to pesticides and other man made factors. There are several reasons why bees die off, but one of them is caused by parasites called mites (or ants). These insects cause bee larvae to become infested with parasitic mites. Parasitic mites can be harmful to humans because they can spread diseases such as yellow fever, malaria, typhoid fever and others. If these parasites are not treated properly, then it could lead to death of human beings.
The most common type of parasite found on hibiscus plants is the fungus Phytophthora ramorum. This fungus causes white fuzzy growths on the leaves of hibiscus plants.
These white fuzzy growths are called “hairy” or “sticky” leaves. The sticky growths do not harm the plant and they serve as food for certain types of insects, but they attract and hold onto other types of pests such as ants. Ants feed on these sticky growths which eventually kill the ant colony that feeds upon them. Ants are not harmful insects, but they do carry various types of diseases and some types can even harm your plants. Most types of insects found on hibiscus plants are harmless and they are only there to feed upon the honeydew that aphids excrete. However, ants tend to protect aphids from predators because they also eat the honeydew that aphids excrete. Ants will aggressively guard aphids from predators such as ladybugs.
The best way to get rid of aphids is to introduce natural predators such as ladybugs, lacewing larvae and hoverflies into your garden. These natural predators will eat all of the aphids that they can find and keep them under control.
These natural insect predators can be purchased online or at certain gardening stores. These insects are also very important because they help to pollinate your plants.
Ants can be controlled by sprinkling cinnamon in spots where you see ants. Ants do not like the taste of cinnamon and will avoid it.
You can also place small piles of stones, pebbles or gravel where you see ants traveling. Ants do not like to crawl over sharp objects and they will avoid them. You can even place ant stakes around your plants. Ant stakes work by giving the ant a small shock. Over time the ant learns to avoid the area where it got shocked. Do not place ant stakes in the middle of your garden because they could harm beneficial insects.
Parasitic nematodes are worm-like creatures that kill pests by feeding off of them. These microscopic parasites attack the pests’ internal organs and kill them within a week or two.
You can purchase these at local garden centers and they are available to control aphids, caterpillars, mealy bugs, leafhoppers, loopers and many other types of pests.
If you have a serious problem with ants in your garden, then you can sprinkle cinnamon around the area where you see them traveling. I wouldn’t recommend using ant stakes because you do not want to harm any other insects that you have in your garden.
You can also create an ant barrier by mixing 1 tablespoon of ground hot pepper with 1 cup of water and pouring it around the area where you see the ants traveling. Ants hate the taste of hot peppers and will avoid the plants that have been sprayed with it.
Sources & references used in this article:
Yield and growth responses of kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) in a semi-arid tropical environment to irrigation regimes based on leaf water potential by RC Muchow, IM Wood – Irrigation science, 1980 – Springer
Effect of Arrak (SalvadoraPersica) Leaves water extract against Hibiscus mealy bug (phenacoccushirsutus) infecting Okra fruits by OKA Mori – 2018 – repository.sustech.edu
Comparison of sex pheromone traps for monitoring pink hibiscus mealybug (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) by J Vitullo, S Wang, A Zhang, C Mannion… – Journal of economic …, 2014 – academic.oup.com
First report of the pink hibiscus mealybug, Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green)(Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), in South Carolina by JH Chong – Journal of Agricultural and Urban Entomology, 2009 – BioOne