Checking for Pests
– Ruth Coulson
(Ruth is with the Australian African Violet Association and lives on the Central North Coast of NSW)
(Originally published on the African Violets Down Under Facebook page.(www.facebook.com/groups/241227626277942/?fref=nf)
Sometimes we fear that our plants are infested with mites, thrips, soil mealy bugs or other nasties but we just aren’t sure.
If you don’t feel you have the experience to identify the presence of pests without actually being able to see them, or if your eyes, like mine, are just not good enough, there are a few very inexpensive tools you can get to help.
Firstly, and I think quite indispensable for any grower, is a good jeweller’s loupe. These can be purchased online for a quite small sum. The one here magnifies 40 times. And it has its own tiny LED lights that make it very easy to see.
One problem could be that the field of view is quite small, but since mites and thrips are small, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Secondly here is another little toy. This is a clip on magnifying lens that you can attach to your smart phone or tablet. I found it hard to use attached to the iPad because of the weight, but it is excellent attached to a phone. It also has LED illumination if needed.
Once again the field of view is fairly small, but you can zoom in on the phone and see a larger image. There is the additional advantage that you can actually click the picture if you see what you hope you won’t! It only cost $8-9, purchased on eBay.
Of course neither of them have a great depth of field in the image, but as I said, the bugs are really small or you would not need help to see them.