White Bugs On Orchids? (causes and solutions)

White bugs are a common pest of orchids. They are also called mealybugs and can create havoc for plants.

At first appearance, they look like tiny white cottony bugs with some fluffy mass known as cottony web.

It is a wingless insect that eats plant’s tissue and sucks juice. It is hard to detect white bugs at first but they grow and spread quickly.

They can infest a plant or a set of plants in a short span of time. They like to hide in difficult spots such as in crevices and under stems and leaves. They take very short time to establish themselves on a plant.

Orchids are such a gorgeous plant that can beautify your garden, whether outdoors or indoors. All you need to protect your orchids from white bugs and other pests. They can kill orchids in a few days and your beautiful garden will look like a disaster.

By finding the real root of the problem, you can easily find the best solution.

From rubbing alcohol to catching by hand, there are a myriad of solutions to get rid of white bugs or mealybugs. We have mentioned some useful methods to get rid of white bugs on orchids.

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What causes white bugs on Orchids?

White bugs attack orchids due to several reasons. If your orchids are overwatered then you are inviting white bugs because this kind of environment is great for thriving of white bugs as they like warm and moist climates.

Over-fertilization is another way of welcoming white bugs because the amount of nitrogen is suitable for white bugs and ideal for their reproduction. They grow rapidly in this kind of environment, so catching the problem in the initial stage is crucial.

There are so many other ways that can cause the nuisance of white bugs. They spread in so many ways through air, insects, humans, and from plant to plant.

Male white bugs have wings so they can move from one place to another. There are bunches of ways that attract white bugs. We recommend you to figure out the actual issue so that you can determine the best solution for the prevention of white bugs.

How to get rid of white bugs in orchids

Honestly speaking, there are so many non-intrusive and organic ways you can exploit to prevent your orchids from white bugs. We are highlighting some useful methods to getting rid of white bugs in orchids.

If your orchids are heavily infested with white bugs, then the following tips or methods help to recover your plants from white bugs.

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Rubbing Alcohol:

According to professional gardeners and horticulturists, rubbing alcohol is one of the simplest and effective methods to get rid of white bugs. Do not use any other type of alcohol, just utilize 70% isopropyl.

You can easily find this alcohol from your nearest chemist. If it is too tiring for you, then mix together 50% water and 50% alcohol in a spray bottle. Spray orchids effectively and you will see betterment in your plant.

For rubbing alcohol, dip a cotton swab in 70% isopropyl and rub on leaves or infested parts gently. It helps to remove white bugs and their residue too. In the spraying method, you can add 2 to 3 drops of liquid dish soap to make the solution more effective.

You can use either rubbing or spraying method on a weekly basis until you see no visible white bugs. Your orchids will feel happier and healthier.

If you are thinking about ethanol rubbing, then don’t use it at any cost because it can damage leaves. After rubbing alcohol, keep your orchids in the shaded area because direct sunlight can lead to sunburn.

Use Soaps and Oils:

Insecticidal oils and soaps are really beneficial for treating white bugs. Add a one tablespoon of insecticidal soap or oil in one liter water and spray on your orchids.

You can also spray its stems, soil, and branches. In order to make sure that this solution works or not, spray on two or three leaves and check the result after 24 hours. If it’s working then you can spray your entire orchids.

Sometimes this kind of solution can burn leaves, so checking before usage is safe for orchids. Neem oil is also good for this purpose. Spray this solution every week for getting desired results.

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Many plants like orchids contain some beneficial insects, but using insecticide can kill them too. So, many gardeners don’t recommend using insecticide. They harm your orchids and can actually kill them.

Moreover, you have to be careful about the amount of insecticide you use for your orchids, otherwise excess could be bad for it. Before buying an insecticide, check its label whether it is for ornamental plants or not.

This insecticide is good for your orchids. This insecticide will help to kill white bugs. It is a helpful method to stop the further population of white bugs.

Some insecticides are not good for your orchid plant because they contain some amount of chemicals that can attract white bugs.

We want to quote nitrogen here which welcomes white bugs and offers a suitable environment for their growth. So, always pick those insecticides labeled with ornamental plants.

Allow Beneficial Insects:

Many gardeners and horticulture professionals like this method to get rid of white bugs in orchids. It is because it is a natural, organic way from Mother Nature to make a perfect balance.

With the help of beneficial insects, you can reduce the population of white bugs. Wasps, lady beetles, brown lacewings, and green lacewings are some popular beneficial insects. You can buy beneficial insects from horticulture departments or insect hatcheries and introduce them to your orchids.

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Catching White Bugs by Hand:

Here’s another effective, simple, and natural method to eliminate white bugs from orchids. You can easily see white bugs and catch them with your fingers.

Prepare a soapy solution in a bucket and put these plucked white bugs into this water in order to kill them. You can use gloves if you feel slippage with your fingers. White bugs are not harmful for humans or their skin. So, there is no need to fret about it.


In orchids, white bugs affect leaves, branches, stem, soil, and roots. If your orchids are infested heavily with white bugs, then repotting is the only solution.

Shift your infested plant to another plant after passing it through the sterilization process. Prune the infested leaves and branches before shifting them. Always use new soil while repotting orchids. Ensure that all the white bugs are removed from orchids.


If you are witnessing the signs of white bugs in your orchids, then cut off the infested branches and leaves in order to stop their population further.

Then use the above methods to remove white bugs completely. Pruning is such a simple and useful method for protecting your orchids.

Don’t forget to dispose of the pruned parts. We suggest you burn the infested parts in order to eliminate the risk of further nuisance.

Pruning helps to protect your orchids from big trouble. You can use this method for other infections and diseases. It strengthens your orchids and streamlines its growth.

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How to prevent white bugs from coming back

After taking all the precautionary measures, change the pot of your orchid ASAP. It is necessary for the good growth of your orchid plant. Try to use fresh soil or potting soil in order to prevent the nuisance of further white bugs.

The old soil may contain some amount of white bugs or their eggs. You can keep white bugs from coming back by checking every new plant before introducing it to your garden.

For more safety, you can keep new plants in isolation for a few days just to ensure that they are free of white bugs or other insects.

There are so many other ways to protect your garden from unwelcomed diseases and pests. Wash your plants regularly and spray protective solutions. This thing will discourage future infestations.

Outdoor Orchids:

Managing outdoor orchids is quite difficult to care for. They are more vulnerable to white bugs as compared to indoor orchids. Weather can play a major role in the growth of white bugs.

They flourish in moist and warm weather. But in heavy rain, their population remains low. If you see any symptoms of white bugs in your orchid plant, then isolate it immediately. Do note that male white bugs can fly but female white bugs are wingless.

Must give a gap of a few days in every prevention treatment in order to check, whether the solution is working or not. Insecticidal treatments can be harmful for orchids because you need to be precise in the amount or quantity of insecticide.

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Final Thoughts:

The heavy influence of white bugs on orchid plants or other plants can actually make them spineless. In this scenario, you need to find out some serious but effective solutions in the form of insecticides. This case is only applicable if the orchid is infested seriously and destroys the orchid rapidly.

An infested orchid can infest other orchids and this process looks unstoppable. The danger of white bugs is inevitable and you must consider necessary solutions for keeping white bugs at bay.

If your orchid is battling with white bugs, you can simply dispose of this plant in order to protect your whole garden.

There are plenty of recommended insecticidal products that are great for the prevention of white bugs. They resist the further population of white bugs efficiently and keep other plants happy and healthy.

White bugs are a perfect example of pests that are populated and propagated easily. Many growers and farmers are well aware of the side effects of white bugs and protecting their cash crops, orchids, and other plants from pests.

Orchids are really susceptible to white bugs because they spread through air, humans, ants, and soil.

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