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laurel (bay) bush attacked by white bugs

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I've had a nice large bay bush on my terrace, about 4 feet tall, and it;s been there for probably 15 or 20 years. 

This year i noticed it wasn;t doing well and on closer examination i found these large (1/2 inch) stark white bugs that look almost like funny seashells (their backs are sort of ridged, and their heads seem hidden). 

I sprayed them with dish detergent and they died, and i pruned off all the places where their carcasses remained, figuring there may be eggs. 

Now i noticed that some of the branches they were on are hollow and it seems other white things are about to emerge from the hole.  Shyould i throw out the plant, not to contaminate my other plants (I have a lemon and an olive, and all kinds of other things)? 

What, if anything, can be done. 

 

I found on internet something about "cocciniglie" (koh- chee- nee-lyeh) which looks like these and says they make red dye from them (yes, for food).  yuck

(the article recommends insecticides)

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #2 of 17

Have you tried ladybugs, or searching if ladybugs could help?  I had the same problem on my roses last year, got a jar of ladybugs at the store, and a week later the white bugs were gone.  I never googled what bugs they were, so you may want to do that first.  I would hate to tell you to go buy lady bugs, and then the white bugs kill them, that would be no good!

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks, not just baked, but i really wonder where i could get ladybugs here.  Were your white bugs huge like mine (about half an inch)?

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #4 of 17

You are welcome.  Well, no, not half an inch, more like a quarter of an inch.  But I got my lady bugs at a local hardware, nursery store.  At the time I lived in Sacramento, Ca, and it is called Emigh Hardware. Most hardware stores, like Ace Hardware, carry them. Just ask, but usually they are n a fridge to keep them dormant. They look dead, but as soon as they get out of the fridge for a bit they start crawling around, it very cool. Or take the photo to a local nursery. Smaller nurseries usually are very helpful and sometimes carry ladybugs. I would try the photo thing first too. Just in case, like I said, I would hate for the other bugs to eat the lady bugs.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by not just baked View Post

You are welcome.  Well, no, not half an inch, more like a quarter of an inch.  But I got my lady bugs at a local hardware, nursery store.  At the time I lived in Sacramento, Ca, and it is called Emigh Hardware. Most hardware stores, like Ace Hardware, carry them. Just ask, but usually they are n a fridge to keep them dormant. They look dead, but as soon as they get out of the fridge for a bit they start crawling around, it very cool. Or take the photo to a local nursery. Smaller nurseries usually are very helpful and sometimes carry ladybugs. I would try the photo thing first too. Just in case, like I said, I would hate for the other bugs to eat the lady bugs.




Ah, alas, this is italy and emigh hardware and ace hardware are nonexistent.  I discovered i can get them online, but these look five times the size of a ladybug.  I guess it wouldn't be bad to have extra ladybugs hanging around ... but maybe that's what the person who introduced rabbits to australia said...

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #6 of 17

Ah yes, Italy!  Nope, no ace hardware over there:).  But I do remember nurseries!  Try them next?

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

The nurseries i've been to are pretty unhelpful - personnel seems not to even know what i want to know, and they have tons of insecticides, but i haven;t seen any ladybugs, though i suppose i could ask.  i think i can find them online, but from companies that sell to large producers, i wonder if they will sell me a small jar of the bugs. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #8 of 17

I was so curious as to what this bug is, so I researched a bit.  Lady bugs would not works, it is too small, so I am glad you did not get them.  The only other problem is I could not find an easy remedy.  So my next suggestion is to take a few of these bugs in a jar to show the nursery to see if that is more helpful.

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

I bought some cape daisies (i believe that's what they;re called in the US) which i've always seen blooming happily all summer.  Mine bloom once or twice in the spring, and then they never bloom again.  I went back to TWO nurseries, several times, explaining that my terrace is exposed to sun from morning to night (very hot and dry).  First time they said they needed fertilizer.  Next time, after that didn't work, they said i must have put too MUCH fertilizer, then next time i shoulod take off all the dead flowers (I was already doing that).  Next time too much water.  Next time too little water.  I realized they had no clue, were just saying things off the top of their head.  I finally found what they;re called, and looked them up.  They don;t flower when it's hot!  For nursery personnel who don;t know the minimum information, or just blabber off the top of their heads, there is not much hope for me to get good info from them, especially if i don;t want to use pesticides (since i do want to use the bay in cooking!

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #10 of 17

I translated the Italian bug name to English and read more... Do try the dishwasher soap and water method.  Dawn works the best apparently.  If that does not work, you will have to use pesticide, hopefully you can find an organic one.  

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

They don't have Dawn detergent here - i wonder what it contains, because i've seen it recommended even on forums for stain removal! (red wine, mix dawn and peroxide).  But it seems that most detergents work to kill on contact - i think they emulsify the fat of the insect body.  One website said to put some alcohol in the places where they made holes.  I was pouring alcohol on it, and then decided to take the bull by the horns and just prune it down radically.  I cut off any branch that had been attacked and very carefully washed the newly budding ends.  Some of the branches turned out to be hollow!  Here's hoping it will work.  It was probably too big anyway- about 6 ft high.

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #12 of 17

Dish soap will kill most insects by destroying the waxy coating on their bodies. If the bug you are talking about does not move it may be a type of scale and for that you can use cooking oil and cover them with it and it should suffocate them. Take a picture and post it if you can as I might be able to tell you what it is.

post #13 of 17

Sounds like what we call meally bugs. detergen in spray bottle is best . Take away from other plants. Spray plant then cover with plastic bag for about 2 hours they should all die. Funny they are attacking laurel as laure is used sometimes to keep other bugs away. Thats why Caesar and Nero had Laurel head pieces all the time to keep bugs away.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

not sure it would be anything called "mealy" since that usually is soft and cream colored.  These are bright white.  They;re  tiny at birth, when the armies of them run out of the holes to attack the plant, and then they sort of settle down on a spot, usually a joint between branches, and form a sort of seashell shape as they grow, white, and one on top of and overlapping with the other.  I don't have a camera  any more and even when i did, am not good at posting thihngs without help.  The detergent worked, it seemed, but then a couple of months later it was attacked again.  More detergent, but the plant looks like it's had it, i imagine it's riddled with holes that harbor eggs waiting to burst out in the spring.  maybe i should cut it down to the root and see what happens. 

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #15 of 17

What we call mealy bugs act the same way, they suck the life out of leaves and plants and in most cases found under the leavesso to be protected from rain and elements.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yeah, ed, those are probably the other kinds of bugs i get, but never on the bay leaves.  They go easily with a spray of dish detergent solution.  These are hard and resistent and go inside the wood itself.

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #17 of 17

   I would agree with the other poster that mentioned that it could be scale.  There are many different types and they can be tough little buggers!  I had some on my magnolia, it took a series of two years to get rid of them.  I'm not sure how to go about killing them on an edible plant???  I did notice that I had another form of scale on a rosemary plant, which I tossed immediately.

 

   If you find a safe solution you will want to ensure that you kill the adults, then the hatching eggs.

 

  Good luck!

 

Dan

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