maygan1017
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:18 pm

help! non typical hibiscus tree bug infestation!

I just bought a hibiscus tree from a florist a few weeks ago. Yesterday I went to water it and it had a bunch of yellow leaves, and looked sickly! I have successfully grown another hibiscus tree for years now, and I know they are drama queens and just water it at the first sign of droopage. (btw the plant is kept inside). Well upon farther investigation I looked and the trunk is COVERED with small red bugs and small black bugs! They appear to be attacking the trunk, and the base of the leaves. They are approximately 1cm long, have a slug like shape, but have legs. They are slow moving. It appears that the bugs start out red and then become black in their adult stage. The bugs can also be found in the soil. They are none of the typical bugs, not meely, aphids, spider mites, etc. What are they??? The plant is going down hill FAST how do I get rid of them and save my plant?? I had to try something and I tried spraying it with a soap/water mixture :? It appears to have killed some of the bugs, but there are still soooo many! any other suggestions? How often should I spraty it? Please Help

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: help! non typical hibiscus tree bug infestation!

You didn't say where you are located. Assuming that it is still warm enough where you are, I would start by getting the infested plant out of my house, especially if you have any other house plants. Once outside it is easier to work with. Large (1 cm = abt 1/2 inch) and slow moving sounds like you could hand pick them off or shake them off into a bowl of soapy water. If your tree is manageable size, I would think about wrapping the pot surface so the soil doesn't fall out and then dunking the whole tree into a trash bin full of soapy water. Otherwise just keep hosing it off with hard sprays of water, including all the undersides of leaves.

Are you seeing any chewed leaves or damage other than just looking sickly?

You are right about the non-typical, doesn't sound like any of the common things that afflict hibiscus. I hope someone else comes along who can be more help re what your bug is.

There is something called a hibiscus beetle:

https://www.trop-hibiscus.com/CNBugs/chew3.htm

It is black but only about 3 mm long and spends most of its time in hibiscus flowers.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

amanda15
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:02 am

Re: help! non typical hibiscus tree bug infestation!

Help me too. I live in western PA and purchased a hibiscus tree at Walmart in
June. It looked like it needed some TLC and when i got it home it was great and
really turned around. However, last week I noticed the same red eggs on the braided trunk
of the tree. The bugs look like a mini scorpions with a tail that sits on top of the body and points
towards the front of the body. They are smaller than the head of a pin. I also tried the soap and
water and lightly scrubbing them off but they keep coming back. The tree has also stopped flowering
but did not have yellowing or loosing leaves. What do I do?

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11583
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: help! non typical hibiscus tree bug infestation!

They might be haplothrips. They are slender with a pointy end. Nymphs are red but the adults are black.
https://lee.ifas.ufl.edu/Hort/Videos_and ... oblems.pdf

My standard treatment for bugs on potted plants that are not in the sun would be horticultural oil or neem oil. Mix up a solution in a five gallon bucket following the label instructions. Cover the soil in the pot with newspaper or cheesecloth to keep it from falling out. I dunk the whole plant upside down in the bucket and submerge it for 10 minutes. Try not to get the soil wet. Take it out and let it dry. Use a Q tip or toothbrush dipped in the oil solution or use rubbing alcohol and scrub the base of the plant near the roots. Oil works by smothering pests, but if you have scale, they won't fall off so they will need to be hosed off with a jet of water and then watch the plant to see if the infestation grows again. I cover the bucket, I can use the solution a couple of times.

I cannot do this with outside plants in summer unless I keep the plant in the shade for a couple of days, otherwise the plant will burn. Plants can burn if the daytime temp is over 80 degrees. Around here that is pretty much every day.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Return to “Trees, Shrubs, and Hedges”