Bill sent me the latest pictures of his prize winning Masdevallias. Old favourites but much bigger! He also has some advice about ridding your orchids of thrips.

My Masd. Ignea and veitchiana are fantastic this year ( the ignea has about 110 flowers and buds ) They are flowering much earlier this year because normally the ignea is only just coming into flower for our Martlesham show in March. Lets hope we can have a show next year!!!

Back in November my vanda`s roots were going brown at the tips and my Phalaenopsis buds were distorted and dropping off. Eventually I discovered the problem was thrips, a very small insect that comes out at night to feed on tender new growth. Because they disappear down into the compost during the day the only way to kill them is to water the compost with an insecticide. I mix it up to the strength on the bottle recommended for spraying then saturate the compost with it and also spray the foliage to get any of the little blighters hiding in nooks and crannies.

The Vanda photo shows the damage the thrips did to the roots  in November , the brown part near the stem was the velamen being damaged by the thrips but as soon as I treated the plant, as the root grew the velamen  was no longer damaged and grew white as it should do. Also my Phalaenopsis buds started to grow and develop properly.   Provado is a good insecticide to use but unfortunately it is being banned because it is a neonicotinoid. If you want to stock up on provado  you will need to do  so quickly before it disappears from the shelves(if it hasn’t already).

Editor- Thrips are nocturnal as well as minute. I had them on my Vanda and they caused stunted roots and flower buds that went brown and dropped. I eradicated them with a systemic insecticide. It might have been Provado but I have been using the systemic version of Bug Clear Ultra Gun in recent years. Fortunately no other plants were affected. I used the ready mix but Bill uses the concentrate. Provado is still around but the ingredients may have changed.