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What are Mealybugs? How to Deal with Them?

Shikha Parewa
Shikha Parewa

Mealy bags are insects that are soft and oval in shape. These are one of the plant sucking pests. Mealy bags can be seen in gardens, indoor plants and also in greenhouses.

They are detrimental to houseplants, fruits and avocados as these insects cause them to drop at the premature stage.

Mealy bags develop in humid and warm atmosphere. They also play the role of vector for many types of plants. Mealy bags destroy the plant by sucking its juice.

How to take precaution:

The first and the most important thing to consider is to make sure that our plants are in good health because weak plants are more susceptible to the infestation of insects.

We can prefer many types of strategies to make our plants safe from the infestation of mealy bugs:

  • Mealy bugs feel more comfortable in tropical temperatures. We can decrease temperature to around 15o c at night for indoor plants. It would prevent the development of mealy bags.

  • We can choose hard treatments and regular spraying for those plants that are resistant to harsh fertilizers.

  • In some cases, we can reduce feeding and watering. This would also help to prevent infestation of mealy bags.

  • Regular application of neem oil can also decrease the development of mealy bags.

Methods to make plants free of mealybugs:

1. Application of Isopropyl Alcohol:

Use a solution containing not more than 70% of isoprophyl alcohol. Apply it on a leaf of plant for testing its reaction. Excessive amount of alcohol can burn it. Use the solution with the help of cotton and wipe it on the mealy bugs. It will not only kill the insect but also will remove them.

2. Application of Insecticidal soap:

Insecticidal soap is also one of the very effective methods to control the infestation of mealy bugs. We can either buy it from the market or we can also make it at home. But for better results soap should be free from perfumes as it can harm the health of plants.

3. Predatory Insects:

These are insects that are detrimental to the existence of mealy bugs. Lacebugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps are well known as predatory insects. Their uses are common in outdoor plants and in greenhouses.

4. Application of synthetic chemical pesticide:

There many varieties of strong insecticides that are approved for the use against mealy bugs. Cautions are required at the time of their application as strong doses are not only harmful for plants, but also for humans.

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