Uninvited visitors like lice tend to infest Baobabs – particularly when they are kept outdoors. There are several ways to cope with these little “pests”. I have not yet tested some of the methods listed below – but to me they sound worthwhile to be shared.
A very simple way to ward off lice is to treat the affected Baobab with a targeted jet of water. If repeated several times it may help to get rid of the lice.
“Useful” insects can be exposed at or near the Baobabs. Among the useful insects are, for example, earwigs, ladybugs and lacewings. In order to convince earwigs to stay next to the Baobabs put some wood-wool in a flower pot and position it near the infested plant.
Or place the afflicted Baobab between plants with a high percentage of essential oils such as lavender. With the strong smell of the essential oils pests are held at bay. Savory is also said to be very helpful.
Another natural method used is nettle extract. Take one kilogram of nettle leaves and soak them for one day in 10 liters of water. The nettles release their toxins into the water. Take the mixture and spray – undiluted – onto the Baobab leaves. The manure left from the nettles can be used as fertilizer for the Baobabs or other plants (please keep in mind that Baobabs do not really need huge amounts of fertilizer…). The manure strengthens the plants and prevents further infestation by pests. After a week of applying the nettle extract the lice should be gone. I have not tried the nettle method myself yet.
Soft soap (without perfume) is another agent helpful in fighting lice on Baobabs. Dissolve one tablespoon of soap in one liter of water and apply to the affected plants. Instead of soap you could use dish-washing soap. In order to enhance the effect – add one tablespoon of alcohol. However, this mixture could leave brown spots on the leaves. I have not tested this method myself so far.
And one could apply the usual chemical agents found at hardware stores or chemists or nurseries on the affected baobabs. Most are poisons that act in a “systemic” way. The plants absorb the applied toxin and spread it through their system. Lice sitting on the leaves and stems feeding on the plants automatically absorb the toxines, too.
The methods listed above are best applied as soon as lice are spotted on Baobabs in order to prevent the spreading of them. Spraying Baobabs is done best early in the mornings or in the evenings and if possible under stable weather conditions without wind.