Mealybugs are small, unarmored, fuzzy white bugs in the Scale family, that are typically found on the underside of the leaves and on new growth, where the nutrients from the plant are most concentrated.
They eat sap from the leaves, causing discoloration, loss of foliage, stunted growth and wilting.
Mealybugs are a nuisance because they can reproduce asexually, and can lay up to 600 eggs at a time. While female and young male Mealybugs crawl, however adult male Mealybugs have 2 wings and can fly, spreading to other plants relatively quickly.
They are disgusting, and detrimental to your plants, but they are relatively easy to handle.
You can either purchase and use a commercial solution that treats Mealybugs, such as Dead Bug Brew, or Insecticidal Soap solutions, or you can follow our At Home Recipe for a non-insecticidal alternative you can mix up and use.
Using a 16 ounce water spray bottle, combine 12 ounces of water, 4 ounces of 92% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol and 2 tablespoons of Dawn Dish Detergent. You can use other dish detergents, if you do not have Dawn, but we find that the classic, blue Dawn is the best.
If you can not find 92% Isopropyl Alcohol, you can use 70%, however you will want to alter your solution to 10 ounces of water and 6 ounces of Isopropyl Alcohol.
With this solution in the spray bottle, thoroughly spray your entire plant. Be sure to cover both the top and undersides of the leaves, all stems and branches, and pay close attention to any new growth areas.
Because these pests can reproduce so quickly, you will have to spray your plant every 2-3 days for 2 weeks to ensure that all adults, larvae and eggs are killed and you stay ahead of them.
It is good practice to wipe the leaves of your plants clean after 2 or 3 treatments have been applied. This will remove any dead Mealybug adults, larvae and eggs. This can be done with a wet paper towel. There is no need to completely rinse your plant off after full treatment.
While some Mealybugs can also be found in the soil, this treatment generally kills them as well, as the excess solution sprayed on the plant will filter down the stems and in to the soil.
There is some risk in treating any plant with any insecticide or non-insecticidal treatment. You may notice some leaf browning, wilting or loss of leaves. This should correct itself relatively quickly, once the infestation is taken care of, and your plant is allowed to grow without hinderance.
If you have any further questions or need more assistance, please feel free to reach out to us.