Orchids attract animals

Pests on orchids from A-Z with pictures - help and tips

Table of Contents

Orchids are considered sensitive plants and require good, proper care. But even the best way of handling the crop does not necessarily prevent pests from infecting them. Plantopedia will explain to you which parasites are typical of orchids and how they are combated.

Pest infestation

There is an optimal location, perfect lighting and sufficient moisture, but your orchid still looks sick? Then a pest infestation can be to blame. If this remains undetected and untreated, in many cases not only does your plant die, but all neighboring plants are endangered. Immediate action is essential. In the following you will find out everything about possible parasites, how they recognize them and which methods of control are effective.

Typical signs

In most cases, hobby gardeners and orchid lovers do not react in time when there is a pest infestation. After all, yellow leaves and less growth also occur in healthy plants. This way of thinking can be fatal for the orchid and, in the worst case, for other nearby plants. It is therefore important that you recognize special characteristics and can associate a pest infestation with them.

This is the case when:

  • falling leaves if it's more than a week or two
  • blooming flowers fall off prematurely
  • yellow or withering leaves
  • dying shoots
  • Growth disorders of the plant and flowers
  • Spots on or under the leaves
  • Holes in the leaves or on the edges of the leaves
  • Plant loses stability - stems and flowers lean downwards
  • sticky parts of plants
  • white or silvery webs on the plant parts, especially in the leaf area
  • white, brown or black spots on the parts of the plant, which could be the parasites

TIP: If you care for your orchids well and regularly, you should always examine them for the characteristics mentioned. In this way, they can detect pests at an early stage and, ideally, prevent major damage.

First aid

If a pest infestation is suspected, the plant must be isolated from others immediately. It does not matter whether you have already correctly recognized the malware. Don't waste unnecessary time on isolation. Your other plants will thank you. In most cases, the first thing to do is to take a strong shower. Many types of pests fall off the plant parts here and further treatment may no longer be necessary if the infestation is minor and you recognized it early on.


There are innumerable pests, but not all of them use orchids as a source of food. Most pests prefer certain plants, so there are typical pest species for the Orchidaceae as well. This basically reduces the scope of possible pests and you can identify them more quickly so that you can start fighting them quickly.

In general, pests also tend to attack neighboring plants if they are one of their preferred food sources. Since they usually multiply rapidly, they can spread extremely and destroy entire flower landscapes if you do nothing about them. Therefore the expert's tip: act immediately.


You can recognize isopods quite well and fight them effectively.

Plant symptoms:

  • pitted roots
  • seldom young shoots and flowers
  • early stage of wilting
  • restricted growth
  • Buds do not open
  • Flowers fall off without wilting


  • black to dark brown elongated animals with seven legs
  • Legs are usually glassy to whitish
  • two short "feelers" at the back
  • longer antennae in front
  • shell armor laid out in a row
  • Size from 0.3 millimeters
  • like to be in dark areas
  • eat leafy green, but mainly dead plant parts
  • Eating damage resembles that of snails
  • They are also found in the ground, where they can eat away at the tips of the roots


So far, there is no reliable remedy for woodlice that does not damage an Orchidaceae. Since woodlice actually do not like the special planters of orchids and only go in because of the food intake, it is a good control variant to exchange this for one where they like to be. Place the pot without a cachepot next to a damp cloth that is on a piece of apple or potato. If they are full for the moment, they will be drawn there and you can collect the parasites.

Alternatively, a potato slice is placed directly on the substrate or around the culture pot, effectively. Here, too, they collect around it so that they can be easily collected. However, this method takes longer than the previous one.


Aphids multiply relatively quickly and like to migrate from plant to plant, so that a neighboring pest infestation can happen quickly. Isolate the plant immediately and act according to the first aid principle.

Plant symptoms:

  • sticky leaves
  • stunted or curled leaves
  • Buds fall off unopened
  • Flowers fall off without wilting


  • mostly present in colonies
  • sit here and there under the leaves
  • Colonies can usually be seen on the stems and shoots
  • Color from reddish brown to brown and black
  • Length of up to seven millimeters
  • winged and wingless shapes possible
  • have a proboscis
  • prefer shady sides of the plant


It is particularly important in this case to spray the infected plant immediately with a harder jet of water. But you will not be able to remove all aphids by doing this. Stubborn and visible specimens can also be removed with your fingers by wiping off the affected parts of the plant between your thumb and forefinger. Otherwise, special insecticides help against lice, which, however, place a high burden on the orchid. More recommendable are ecological control measures, which have been shown to be just as effective in countless practical tests.

Nettle broth:

  • Put about two hands full of nettles in a bucket
  • Add two liters of cold water
  • Let the mixture steep for at least twelve hours
  • Sieve the nettles
  • Fill the brew into a spray bottle and spray the plant dripping wet every day
  • not leave out any part of the plant
  • after a week all aphids should have died

Red spider

  • silvery speckles on the underside of the leaves
  • yellow leaves
  • increased leaf waste
  • reduced forcing growth


  • elliptical body shape
  • eight-legged
  • rear part of the body tapering to a point
  • colored light green, orange or pewter red
  • Size up to 0.6 millimeters
  • often seen on young leaves and shoots


Before resorting to chemical control, you should use the more environmentally friendly and plant-friendly method. Beneficial insects such as ladybirds are an effective measure, but difficult to carry out in living spaces. The following method is more suitable here.

  • Take the plant out of the pot
  • Spray Orchidaceae well with lukewarm water
  • Place in a translucent, transparent plastic film or bag
  • close airtight
  • Open / remove the bag / foil after about three to four days
  • the red spider should have died due to the high humidity


As a rule, snails only attack orchids when they spend the summer season outdoors. Nevertheless, the possible damage is then no less great. The slimy animals are easy to recognize. Usually it is the nudibranchs without houses that eat the plants. As a rule, everyone has already seen them, so identification should be easy. However, if it remains undetected, the plant symptoms help identify snails as possible pests.

Plant symptoms:

  • fringed leaf margins
  • Holes in the leaf flesh
  • pitted flowers
  • silvery traces of slime
  • Plant damage usually begins at the bottom and continues evenly upwards
  • often young plants and fresh plant parts affected
  • Flower wilts for no reason
  • increasingly loses its grip and can be easily pulled out


The snail is a stubborn pest for which numerous control products are available. However, many of them do not help. However, the following measures are effective.

  • Picking up and collecting the snails (early in the morning and in the evening)
  • Place cucumber slices around the plant
  • Lay out slug pellets (caution poisonous)
  • Sprinkle the leaves with coffee beans every day for a week
  • Distribute the coffee grounds on the substrate
  • Rosemary and thyme keep snails at bay


  • malformed flowers
  • stunted flower shapes
  • young leaves deform
  • brown spots on the leaves
  • silvery punctures on the leaves
  • black dots on parts of plants (feces)
  • growth disorders with increasing infestation


  • black-brown insects
  • white to light yellow larvae on the underside of the leaves
  • elongated physique
  • fringed wings

TIP: If you put a blue plaque in the planter, you will attract these pests and you will be able to spot them easily. This does not work with other pests, so you can be sure that you have a Thirpse infestation.


  • Shower the orchid quickly and thoroughly
  • Don't forget the underside of the leaves
  • Twist the plant in a transparent film or put it in a plastic bag
  • Close airtight as much as possible
  • remove the foil / bag after three to four days
  • Thirps should have died
  • repeat the process if necessary

Sciarid gnats

In the continuously moist substrate of orchids, fungus gnats in particular feel at home. There it pulls itself into the substrate, where it eats the roots. Now the best conditions for a fungal attack are given, whereby they themselves are “only” simply annoying, but do not cause any further damage that would lead to the death of the plant. Only a fungal infection can weaken the plant so much that it is no longer viable.

Plant symptoms:

  • significant growth reduction
  • Buds do not open


  • Size: up to seven millimeters
  • are often confused with fruit flies
  • dark gray to black color
  • black head
  • Flying in a zigzag
  • full-length wings
  • white dots on the substrate (deposited eggs)
  • elongated white insects in the substrate (larvae)


When fighting, you need to follow two steps to reliably get rid of the eggs, as well as larvae, and to control the adult sciarid gnats so that they cannot lay new eggs.


It is important to repot the orchid in new, fresh and loose substrate. The roots have to be meticulously cleared of all substrate residues. If you don't have any new soil to hand, you can disinfect the used soil in the oven. Proceed as described below.

  • Preheat the oven to 100 degrees
  • Spread the earth well on a heat-resistant surface
  • Put the soil in the preheated oven for half an hour
  • then let it cool down again to room temperature
  • Plant the plant back into the substrate

Yellow stickers:

So-called yellow stickers, which are available from specialist retailers, have a limited effect. They are put into the substrate. They are equipped with glue to which at least the larvae and flies stick to it. If the yellow sticker is full, insert a new one. The procedure takes a little patience if the fungus gnat has spread well. Otherwise, the yellow sticker is an ecological method without any poisonous additives.


Combating with nicotine has proven to be very effective. If you and no other household member are a smoker, ask your friends about collecting smoked cigarette scraps. The nicotine does not harm orchids. Proceed as described below.

  • Provide a container with a screw cap (e.g. jam jar)
  • clean it thoroughly with washing-up liquid
  • Fill the glass up to the top with cigarette residues including the filter
  • fill up with water
  • Close the jar
  • Let it steep for a week until the liquid turns dark brown
  • Filter cigarette remains from the brew
  • Fill one or two schnapps glasses with the brew
  • Pour nicotine brew directly around the central stem
  • Duration of treatment: about twice spread over a week

Mealybugs and mealybugs

  • stunted growth
  • deformed leaves
  • Sticky structures similar to cotton balls, especially on the leaves
  • Leaves and flowers wither quickly
  • increased leaf waste
  • brown spots on the leaves


  • Size about 0.5 centimeters
  • oval body shape
  • white, light brown or pink color
  • Cross grooves on the back
  • mostly stay among their webs


Soap suds, which you can easily and quickly produce yourself, are ideal for combating woolly lice and mealybugs.

  • Mix two tablespoons of soft soap with one liter of water
  • Soft soap must not have any additives
  • Use lukewarm water
  • Pour the soap solution into a spray bottle
  • Spray the plant dripping wet
  • Duration of treatment: approximately every two days for a week
  • alternatively, shampoo can also be used
  • Do not use detergent - the Orchidaceae is very sensitive to this