Two words. Mealybugs suck. These guys are one of the worst pests you can get on your plants and we're sorry if you've run into them! But unfortunately, they love to worm their way into your plant collection from time to time.
Mealybugs are small, soft-bodied insects that produce white, fluffy looking material that helps protect them from heat and also repels chemical pesticides (now that's a hardcore bug).
These guys are not the easiest to eliminate, but it's possible. At PlantGirl we are always on the look out for bugs and pests. Here's what we've learnt about these fluffy little critters and how to break up with them.
SIGNS OF MEALYBUGS INCLUDE:
- White, fluffy, marshmallow looking matter in the crevice of your plant. These guys bury themselves deep in the corners so if you actually pull the leaf out gently you can often get a better look at them.
- Yellowing or dying leaves and foliage (from the mealybugs sucking all of the nutrients out).
- White, powdery residue on the foliage and stems.
- Physically remove the mealybugs with something sharp and pointy (or just anything that can sneak into the crevices of your plant where these guys are cosying up).
- Clean the plant. Wipe all of the leaves down thoroughly.
- Clip away any heavily damaged leaves.
- Treat the plant. Wipe all of the leaves with an eco neem oil solution. You can also create an insecticidal soap which will suffocate the mealybugs if sprayed directly on them. Insecticidal soap can get sticky so it's best to wipe it off after half an hour. Repeat these treatments each week until you can't find the mealybugs anymore. Be patient, as this can take some time.
- We've heard that wasps can be highly effective in killing mealybugs, but honestly, letting wasps loose in your house may not be everyone's cup of tea.
- If you've got a heavy infestation - and this is usually quite obvious, you're better off throwing out your plant. Mealybugs will spread to your other plants quickly. Heavy infestations will have a majority of your plant looking yellow and sickly, and the white fluffy matter will be all over the plant. GET. RID.
- Make it a habit to check your leaves for bugs. Catching these things early always works in your favour.
- Regularly clean your plant leaves.
- Give a preventative neem treatment from time to time.