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Thread: Pests vs CO2

  1. #1
    RL7836's Avatar
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    Pests vs CO2

    A few weeks ago I noticed some very tiny bugs among one of my U. warburgii. Armed with a loupe & Google, it appears that they were the smallest aphids I've ever seen. Since I've heard that utrics are like dews in their sensitivity to pesticides, I planned on my 1st use of the relatively new (at least to me) uber-pesticide, fungicide, wonder-cure-all --> Neem oil. However, somewhere in my head a distant brain cell was struggling to recall more details regarding someone, somewhere in CP land using CO2 (carbon dioxide in the form of dry ice) to eliminate pests. I did some searches in the forums & found nothing. Back to Google & found this post over on the orchid forum. After endlessly searching for a CO2 supplier, I finally found one that was open past noon on a Saturday.

    Bottom line, I mostly followed the instructions from the orchid forums* --> the aphids bit the dust** & the plants had a boost in growth.***

    I'm interested to hear if anyone else has used this method, & if so, how things worked out - especially with other pests, like mealy bugs or thrips. Although it seems that this should work for any oxygen-breathing pest, some pests (specifically mites) appear to be unaffected.

    Given the relative ease of application, low cost, lack of carcinogenic/mutagenic chemicals and possible side-benefit of enhanced growth - - - why isn't this approach more popular?

    * - after starting with his methodology, I evolved to using something similar to his 'top-off' method. Basically, I placed CO2 in a double-wall, large plastic cup and then poured 1/8 cup of near-boiling water on the cubes of CO2. I then allowed the resulting vapor to pour down into the tank. Then repeat multiple times. Wait for an hour or 2 & repeat again... The hot water (as stated in the link), helps to reduce the impact from the temperature drop caused by dry ice. Just using dry ice might work but it might also freeze some plants (& kill them).

    ** - while I never noticed more than 3 or 4 of these tiny aphids at any 1 time - after the procedure, I sprayed the warburgii foliage with RO water and hundreds of tiny corpses formed a 'bathtub-ring' around the outer edges of the pot. Like roaches, there are always many more than you see.

    *** - Some plants appeared to have a dramatic jump in growth, while others were unaffected. I'm planning to play around and 'pour' some CO2 into the tanks when the lights are on (when the plants can actually use the stuff) and see how they do... Maybe the boost was in my imagination ...
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Lucky Greenhorn Lil Stinkpot's Avatar
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    I can't say I've ever tried it,but that sounds like a cool idea. Did you use dry ice? I can get that at any grocery store, at any hour.
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    wicked good plants! Presto's Avatar
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    So cool! And such common sense.. I love it!! What a great idea!

    As to why some critters seemed unaffected, arthropods can close their spiracles - the holes through which oxygen enters their body. (they don't have lungs - no need for them with such a tiny body. they just have their respiratory system open to the environment, and the O2 goes right where it's needed.) Anyway, in times of stress, such as being dehydrated, or in a poisonous environment, they can shut them, and "hold their breath" so to speak for a surprisingly long time. The ticks I work with can survive underwater for days. So my guess is the mites just closed up and waited for the CO2 to disappear.

    Also, a thought as to why more people don't use this method. It's very cool and practical for relatively small scale collections, like CPs or orchids. But much more commonly, plant growers have gardens and yards...difficult if not impossible to close off and infuse with CO2.

    Still, this ranks up there with my favorite story of flea control. A family had zillions of fleas living in their house...carpets, etc. It was summer, so they chose a few hot days to stay at a hotel and leave the heat on full blast. It got hot enough that the fleas all dessicated and died...the heat melted the waxy layer of their exoskeletons. Killed 100% of them with zero pesticides.
    -Emily

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    The hobbyist called Greenthumbs has mentioned about light a flame over them and then covering it. The idea in mind is Oxygen deprivation. I haven't tried this out yet, but anything that deprives them of O2 should work.

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Ron,

    I dont remember the details, but i remember once hearing of a murder case involving death by dry ice.

    The husband/wife sealed up the bedroom while the other was sleeping and placed blocks of dry ice in the room with them

    and of course there is the Lake Nyos Disaster

    Back in my Dupla style planted aquarium days I did the DIY C02 with yeast and sugar water...

    as usual, welll played mate
    Av

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    rattler's Avatar
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    dart frog keepers have been using dry ice to fumigate a terrarium for awhile....remove frogs, place dry ice in a dish to protect plants and place a piece of glass over the top......pretty soon the bugs are dead, other than a flush of mold for a bit afterwards no problems.....

    with pests with most utrics you can submerge the pots for a few days and most pests will drown....
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    RL7836's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lil Stinkpot View Post
    Did you use dry ice?
    Yup.

    Quote Originally Posted by Presto View Post
    The ticks I work with can survive underwater for days.
    ... and what is it that you do with ticks? (I've really grown to hate those things!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Presto View Post
    But much more commonly, plant growers have gardens and yards...difficult if not impossible to close off and infuse with CO2.
    They can solve their own issues...

    Quote Originally Posted by Presto View Post
    ...the heat melted the waxy layer of their exoskeletons. Killed 100% of them with zero pesticides.
    ... & then they had to repeat it in 2 weeks to kill all the babies that hatched from the eggs?
    Quote Originally Posted by Av8tor1 View Post
    ...as usual, welll played mate
    Wish it was my idea, but as we see, it wasn't me at all. I'm just surprised that it hasn't gotten more air time on the boards ....
    Quote Originally Posted by rattler View Post
    dart frog keepers have been using dry ice to fumigate a terrarium for awhile....remove frogs, place dry ice in a dish to protect plants and place a piece of glass over the top......pretty soon the bugs are dead, other than a flush of mold for a bit afterwards no problems.....
    I wonder if that is what caused the flush of gel-algae in my warburgii pot? The pot that had all the dead aphids is also the only one to have an explosion of this nasty blob-like crap. Some other pots have a little but that pot is all green gel.

    Quote Originally Posted by rattler View Post
    with pests with most utrics you can submerge the pots for a few days and most pests will drown....
    Over the years, I've read about a lot of people doing this but not a lot with success ...
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Did you do this in the dark? The O2 generated from photosynthesis might be enough for the mites to live on.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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