Mealybugs, sometimes known as scale insects. They’re small, oval sap-sucking insects with a protective coating of powdered wax. They come in sizes ranging from a tenth of an inch to a quarter of an inch long. Mealybugs wreak havoc on plants by sucking their juice, and they love fresh growth, as do many pests.
The plant’s leaves become yellow and fall off because of their damage. Fruits, vegetables, and flower buds may also ripen prematurely because of these chemicals. In a bad infestation, their waxy excretions (also known as honeydew) encourage sooty mold fungus to proliferate.
Mealybugs are largely a problem with houseplants and greenhouses in northern countries because they are warm-weather insects, and they are rarely seen in the south.
Wash Mealybugs Away
Mealybugs can be expelled with a steady stream of water. Repeat the treatment if necessary. This method is excellent for light infestations, as certain plants cannot withstand such harsh treatment. Take the afflicted plants to the bathroom and use the shower to wash away the mealybugs or if the plant is outdoor use the hose. Most of the little white plant bugs should be dislodged by the force of water. Water will also aid in the removal of any unattractive cottony residue from the plant.
Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) should be used.
Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and wipe it on mealybugs to kill and eradicate them. Before spraying a solution containing no more than 70% isopropyl alcohol to the entire plant, test it on a single leaf to check that the alcohol does not burn it. Because mealybugs can live in soil, repotting your plant in new, sterile soil may be a good idea. Before adding a new potting mix, you can also sanitize the inside of the pot with alcohol. This ensures that all traces of these nagging pests are eradicated for good.
Spray With Insecticidal Soap
You can buy insecticidal soap (such as Safer’s Insecticidal Soap) or prepare your own with Ivory Liquid dish detergent. Look for a product that doesn’t contain any fragrances or ingredients that could harm plants. Combine the soap and water in a diluted solution (starting a 1 teaspoon per gallon and increasing as necessary). Plants should be sprayed with a soapy solution. After an hour or two, wash the plant with a moist cloth to prevent the soap from harming it. Spray the plant as needed until it is no longer pest-free. Soap spray is helpful because it coats mealybugs with a soapy liquid that aids in the breakdown of wax.
Make use of neem oil.
The neem tree produces neem oil, which is a natural substance. When used as directed, it prevents insects from eating the leaves and acts as a repellent. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, neem oil is safe to use on vegetables and other edible plants, as well as ornamentals. It’s important to understand that neem oil takes time to work. For neem oil to be successful, spray it on your succulents, cactus, plants, or houseplants daily. With a little patience, you’ll be able to handle these pesky fuzzy pests in no time.
Predatory Insects could be introduced.
Lacebugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps (Leptomastix dactylic), and a beetle known as the “mealybug destroyer” are all-natural predators of mealybugs (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri). These can be purchased from commercial internet merchants and are most commonly used for outdoor infestations or in greenhouse situations.
Insect Spray (Homemade)
To make a paste, put 1 garlic bulb, 1 small onion, and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a food processor or blender. In 1 quart of water, steep for 1 hour. 1 tbsp liquid dish soap, filtered with cheesecloth Mix everything up thoroughly. The mixture can be stored in the fridge for up to one week. Spray the mealybug-infested plant portions with the solution.
Inspect any new plant you bring into your house to prevent mealybug infections. Mealybugs can also be avoided by ensuring that plants have a healthy environment in which to thrive. Wiping leaves with a damp towel regularly can also aid in the removal of the small white bug before you see it.