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A year ago, I noticed a white scale on three P. stemaria that had come from the same Florida nursery. I took samples to the Kansas State University entomology department, whereupon they were labelled "armored" scale, but they reminded me of snow scale because they had no shell or transparent overlay. I decided to work my way up ladder of pesticide intensity on the quarantined plants, and started with the prepackaged, retail spray bottle of 2% Safer soap diluted by half. This, with Roy Vail's admonition, found in the Handbook, to test a pesticide on P. stemaria pups first before spraying a whole collection, for instance, because the P. stemaria pups would serve as a sensitivity meter for the others. The diluted version didn't hurt the plants over the next day or two, so I stepped up to the off-the-shelf mix and saturated each occupied plant. In the course of 3 or 4 weekly saturations, the scale problem was gone. I continue to monitor them; the problem has not recurred. Don't misuderstand me, these plants had very few scale each. This was not a major infestation.
This summer I grew my P. andinums outside under shadecloth. In early August, two months into our 3 months-long drought, the word from western Kansas was that "the sky was black" with grasshoppers making their way east. There was no water, so they made more pronounced arrivals in cities and town where apparently their usual presence was not so prominent. Sure enough, they made their way here, to Manhattan, KS., a week to 10 days later, but I'd done a heavy drenching spray with the Safer soap on the andinums based on the forewarning. I began to think I "put them in check" when two or three days after their arrival, they still had not bothered my plants. But after inspecting the damage one of the following mornings, I realized this was not so. So I loaded up the sprayer with ever-reliable Orthene 75 WP and, ultimately, did 3 weekly sprayings. But it was immediately that I saw the results, and knew that the andinums would be safe from the hoarding masses.

Philip Crabb

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