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Mealybugs in Plants: Ways to Get Rid of Them

Mealybugs have infested the plant heavily. They prefer warm climates and can be found on both indoor and outdoor plants. Because they feed on plant juices, they are drawn to plants high in juice, such as citrus trees.

Shivam Dwivedi
Mealybugs in Plants
Mealybugs in Plants

Have you ever noticed that fluffy cotton-like stuff on your plants that feels waxy when you touch it? Do not ignore or brush it off, assuming it is a fungus; you are dealing with Mealybugs. In this article, we'll talk about these pests and how to protect your plants from them.

How do Mealybugs develop?

Mealybugs have infested the plant heavily. They prefer warm climates and can be found on both indoor and outdoor plants. Because they feed on plant juices, they are drawn to plants high in juice, such as citrus trees. They can infest almost any common houseplant, including hibiscus, orchids, coleus, begonia, and vegetable plants.

These are warm-weather insects, they can infest nearly all outdoor plants when the weather is warm. They thrive best in temperatures ranging from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

These bugs also thrive on plants that have a high nitrogen content. Over-watering and over-fertilization can both increase the likelihood of infestation.

Female mealybugs can lay up to 600 eggs, which hatch quickly. Within a few weeks, those hatched eggs will be ready to lay their own eggs. As a result, if left unchecked, they spread extremely quickly.

How do Mealybugs harm plants?

  • Mealybugs feed on plant juices and excrete honeydew, a waxy secretion. This attracts ants and promotes the growth of sooty mould.

  • They enjoy feeding on new growth and secreting honeydew. This causes the leaves to yellow and eventually fall off over time. Fruits, flower buds, and vegetables may also drop prematurely as a result of this.

  • Once the infestation has progressed to an advanced stage, the population of bugs can be seen clearly on plants, and the insect's growth will be exponential. They can seriously harm the plant and eventually kill it if left unchecked.

How to get rid of Mealybugs:

Let's look into ways to eliminate this threat from your plants:

1. Removal with isopropyl alcohol

  • Make a 70% alcohol solution and dip a cotton swab in it. Rub alcohol gently on the leaves where mealybug infestations are found. Gently rub the leaves until the mealybugs die or disappear.

  • You can test the alcoholic solution on some leaves before applying it to the entire plant to ensure that the leaves do not burn.

  • This method is effective when the infestation is mild and limited to a few leaves.

2. Washing mealybugs out

  • The mealybugs can be dislodged by applying a pressurized water hose to the infested area. This will not completely eliminate the insect from the plant.

  • The pressurized water hose could also harm the plant. If the infestation is in its early stages, this method is very effective.

  • This method can be combined with a few of the other methods mentioned here.

3. Usage of soap solution

  • Insecticides based on a soap can be very effective in treating this bug.

  • Combine distilled water and soap-based insecticides to make a soap solution. Spraying the soap-based insecticide directly on the plant may harm it.

  • Spraying a mealybug-infested plant with a soap solution

  • Once the solution is ready, pour it into a sprayer and carefully spray it around and under each leaf, repeating the process until the bugs are gone.

  • Always apply the solution after sunset so that the plant has enough time to recover before the next sunrise.

  • You may need to repeat the process several times per week until the bugs are gone.

4. Use Neem oil

  • Neem oil has natural insecticide and fungicide properties, making it ideal for completely eliminating mealybugs.

  • Dilute the neem oil and pour it into a sprayer to make a solution. Spray the solution all over the leaves and underneath the leaves. The insect will be killed after a few days.

  • You may need to repeat the process until the infestation is gone. This method can also be very effective when combined with the previously mentioned pressurized water hose method.

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