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Meet "George", the Dracaena plant


By eirlys


I asked for advice regarding treatment to rid my Dracaena plant from the mealy bug and received several helpful answers.

Here’s a photograph to prove why I don’t want to get rid of George and start all over again. Instead I plan a blitz with methylated spirits and a constant beady eye.

Aren’t the pests disgusting!

George actually looks better in actuality!

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Good thing you are tackling it straight away as that is quite a light attack compared with what they can do. Is George at all pot bound? Because they can get into the roots as well especially when they are crowded.
I don't think that is a Dracaena though, perhaps somebody will know better than me.

If you think they are disgusting what would you say to discover that they used to be known as the cochineal insect, because that is where the red food colouring used to come from....

26 Sep, 2014


I was advised to use the meths on my Acer a couple of years back, it worked a treat. Good luck with it.

26 Sep, 2014


Steragram: You are absolutely correct! My Other Half has just said he told me it was " Dieffenbecia"! (I hope I've spelt it correctly).

I thought cochineal came from a beetle? Must read up about mealy bugs!

Scottish: Can Acers pick up the mealy bug then? We have lots of the former.

27 Sep, 2014


The red dye comes from a mealy bug. Squish one to see if you have the one were the dye derives from. Just as a side note , shellac originally came from another plant pest, the lac bug, which is a scale insect found in India. This is good stuff to use in case the conversation goes dead at a party:)
Although, I haven't had a house party in quite a while since word got around that my parties were a place where fun went to die:(

27 Sep, 2014


I don't know about the mealy bug but they do/can suffer with scale insect and I was recommended using the meths on those too.
I hope I didn't send you into a panic Eirlys - I know you have quite a few Acers :)

27 Sep, 2014


This is getting interesting. I just looked up mealy bugs and found they are actually an "unarmoured scale insect"! I couldn't fine any reference to them being used for cochineal but that is what I was always led to believe. The officially named cochineal beetle is indeed different.
So perhaps I was wrong or perhaps mealy bugs could be used as well.

27 Sep, 2014


Scottish Have seen it on the branches of Acers never on the leaves.

28 Sep, 2014


Boggybottom : I've a feeling I would have enjoyed your parties! :O)

Steragram; You might like to check this out:

I was wrong to use the name "beetle".

Starbucks say they will no longer use the dye in their products.

However QUOTE: Anytime you see an ingredients list that includes carmine, cochineal extract or natural red 4, you can be sure that there's a little powdered bug therein. UNQUOTE

Methinks George and I have innocently opened up a can of worms. (Am I mixing my metaphors or my mealy bugs?)

Scottish: A little dram would alleviate the panic symptoms!

28 Sep, 2014


Eirlys, thanks for the link. I don't think I have ever eaten in a Starbucks, but have to say that on the very rare occasions I need some red colouring I prefer the natural to the synthetic. Bug derived dye is at least organic!! And people eat wichety grubs, bumble bees and locusts, so what's the difference really?

28 Sep, 2014


Steragram: See:

Two years ago Older Son and wife visited a village in Cambodia that is well-known for serving baked tarantulas. They didn't sample any but saw many. Believe the "tradition" started as people were starving and looking everywhere for a food source.

Cochineal I used was bug-derived.

My father, who was Australian, said he often tried a witchetty grub! Think of what people on the TV programme "I'm a Celebruty...." are asked to eat.

29 Sep, 2014


Couldn't get the link to work - will try later. I have read something similar before though if the title is anything to go on. But I do sincerely hope it doesn't come to that - food colouring is one thing, insects for lunch is another!
What did your father think of the witchetty grubs? Did he eat them alive?(and now I know how to spell it!)

29 Sep, 2014


I don't think I could face eating insects. Spiders, yuk, and no they aren't insects.

Dad wasn't too happy recalling the events. Must have been dares. I think he said they were cooked on sticks!

Elizabeth I and her contemporaries spelt words any old how. Don't think the grub will complain!

30 Sep, 2014


We won't tell it, just in case...

30 Sep, 2014

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