Gnats and sticky clear stuff on ficus leaves in my enclosure!

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
Recently I have begun to see clear sticky stuff coating the top leaves of my ficus Benjamin’s tree within Eustis enclosure as well as an increase in teeny little gnats that have been in there since I first introduced plants last June. The gnats came from the schefflera plants I had in there. I honestly think they came infested with them. I asked questions here and everyone thought they were harmless little fungus gnats. I didn’t figure they’d hurt anything so I have ignored them. I think they have had a big hatching recently and there are now quite a few in there. I also have noticed light colored spots on the leaves of the tree. There are also leaves here and there turning brown. I have taken the tree out for the moment and put it in the shower and completely showered it off then made up a spray bottle of water and dawn dish soap and sprayed it down. I’ve cleaned the bottom of the cage with hydrogen peroxide. Eustis is sitting on the mass cane tree in the kitchen while I’m doing this. I will rinse the ficus off in the shower after letting it sit with the soap on for awhile. Is there anything else I can do? I need to find a sun dew plant somewhere to kill off these gnats but it’s too early for our stores to have anything like that right now. Any advice on the gnats is welcome!
 

Jpeff

Chameleon Enthusiast
Add sand or more drainage in pots. If you have good drainage gnats will go away after awhile. Repot and add sand to mix is easiest way to do it
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I need to repot this ficus this spring when the weather is warmer because I wasn’t thinking of drainage when I potted it last summer. I will add drainage then. I can’t do it now because we are still cold here in Maine. Thanks for the advice! Can these gnats hurt my chameleon? Is I’d dangerous for him to get this sticky stuff on his feet? @MissSkittles @JacksJill @Mendez @Kaizen
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
Its too cold to take his cage outside to do that right now And it won’t fit in the shower so I’m doing what I can until it gets warmer. Will the sticky stuff hurt a Eustis?
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Its too cold to take his cage outside to do that right now And it won’t fit in the shower so I’m doing what I can until it gets warmer. Will the sticky stuff hurt a Eustis?
It didn’t seem to bother Stella. If you can take the plants out and wash the leaves, that may help. I never did try the lacewings, but you may want to.
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
It’s in the shower and been sprayed with a mix of water, dawn dish soap and 70% alcohol. I’m letting it sit for awhile. I’m sorry I didn’t take pictures of it beforehand. I’ve also sprayed down the two pothos plants that were in there as well.
 

Pickle-cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
Shiney stuff sounds like honeydew usually caused by scale but other insects can cause it.

You want to sort this before ants are about they are attracted to this honey dew substance.

You could remove your chameleon and spray with diluted hydrogen peroxide the plants & soil. Because it is highly reactive it will become water & oxygen in about 10 minutes which gives the roots a boost too.

Or remove plants treat with chemical of choice, repot in better draining media after surgery on any rotten roots.

predator mites if wanting the true bioactive approach😅
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
Shiney stuff sounds like honeydew usually caused by scale but other insects can cause it.

You want to sort this before ants are about they are attracted to this honey dew substance.

You could remove your chameleon and spray with diluted hydrogen peroxide the plants & soil. Because it is highly reactive it will become water & oxygen in about 10 minutes which gives the roots a boost too.

Or remove plants treat with chemical of choice, repot in better draining media after surgery on any rotten roots.

predator mites if wanting the true bioactive approach😅
thank you! Do you just dump hydrogen peroxide in the plant pot? I’ve treated all the leaves and branches with the dawn soap, alcohol and water mixture already.
 

Pickle-cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
Spray leaves & soak soil,, remove chameleon for at least 10 mins

3% or dilute anything stronger with distilled water.
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
Okay so after letting the ficus sit for awhile in the shower with the alcohol, water and dawn soap mix on it, I have rinsed it really well with plain water and let it sit again to drain for awhile and now I put it back in the enclosure and put Eustis back in as well. He’s kind of stressed a little from the whole thing but he’s ok. It’s a little sparse in there because I set the two pathos in the bottom for a day so they can drain well.
 

MzLaurie11

Avid Member
Recently I have begun to see clear sticky stuff coating the top leaves of my ficus Benjamin’s tree within Eustis enclosure as well as an increase in teeny little gnats that have been in there since I first introduced plants last June. The gnats came from the schefflera plants I had in there. I honestly think they came infested with them. I asked questions here and everyone thought they were harmless little fungus gnats. I didn’t figure they’d hurt anything so I have ignored them. I think they have had a big hatching recently and there are now quite a few in there. I also have noticed light colored spots on the leaves of the tree. There are also leaves here and there turning brown. I have taken the tree out for the moment and put it in the shower and completely showered it off then made up a spray bottle of water and dawn dish soap and sprayed it down. I’ve cleaned the bottom of the cage with hydrogen peroxide. Eustis is sitting on the mass cane tree in the kitchen while I’m doing this. I will rinse the ficus off in the shower after letting it sit with the soap on for awhile. Is there anything else I can do? I need to find a sun dew plant somewhere to kill off these gnats but it’s too early for our stores to have anything like that right now. Any advice on the gnats is welcome!
Hi Linda the afids and other pests lay eggs in the soil. So cleaning just the leaves wont stop new hatchings. You must change the top soil too. Also i use screen on top of the soil with edges tucked in the sides instead of rocks. and vacuum what is flying about to get it undercontrol! The soap is good but u need to address the soil too.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast

Lindasjackson

The sticky residue you're seeing on your ficus leaves (and floor) is a common symptom of scale insect infestations. The sticky substance is the honeydew excreted by the insects feeding on the "sap" inside the leaves. These tiny insects (1/4 inch or less long) sometimes camouflage themselves to look like parts of the plant so they can be hard to see.
https://www.thriftyfun.com/tf14166034.tip.html

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=sticky+coating+on+ficus+leaves

This is what killed my ficus (scales). IMO waiting until Spring will be too late (if it isn't already).
I would get the ficus out of there immediately, lest the parasites spread to your other plants.

Sorry this happened; it caught me by surprise too.
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
No, I don’t think it’s scale at all. I had the tiny white flies like miss skittles said. I vacuumed the whole cage out and cleaned the bottom with hydrogen peroxide and let it dry before returning the plants. I did this all yesterday. I have seen no flies since then. I am aware they can re appear but I will address it then and by then it should be warm enough for me to take it all outside to clean again. Thanks for all the advice everyone!
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Scales come in a variety of forms—I've never seen any that fly (not saying there aren't any).
Some types can cluster into groups on the underside of leaves or on stems in such a way that they look like part of the plant. Insidious little buggers.

Here are some pics of them (various types) on ficus benjamina.
https://www.google.com/search?q=sca...VICc0KHWfTBhAQ_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=1024&bih=625

Watch for dropping leaves as well. That was ultimately how we found them but by then it was too late.
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think I killed my ficus tree! It’s lost a lot of leaves. The white flies are pretty much gone though. I guess this spring I’ll have to find Eustis a new ficus. I had three ficus trees years ago when I had my original Jackson’s and never had a problem with them loosing leaves and getting white flies. I’m kinda frustrated because this tree cost me 65.00! As soon as it gets warm enough outside I’m going to deep clean his cage and try to find a new ficus tree.
 
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