How to Control Mealy Bugs

Overview

Mealybugs are small insects that can do major damage to your plants if you don't take measures to get rid of them. The mealybugs look like small white cotton balls. When they attach themselves to your plants, they suck the sap from your plant and secrete a sticky "honeydew" substance that encourages the growth of mold. Once the mold takes over, the leaves will begin to fall off and your plant will begin to die. If you have mealybugs, all is not a loss. There are a few things that you can do to fight back and protect your plants from the little sapsuckers.

Step 1

Inspect new plants thoroughly before bringing them into your home to ensure that they are not infected with mealybugs. If you bring the mealybugs in from another plant, they can easily crawl from that plant onto your other plants and create an even bigger problem.

Step 2

Purchase a yellow sticky card to trap the mealybugs from your local plant store or websites such as GreenHarvest.com or RittenHouse.com. Hang it over the plant that is infested with the bugs. The stickiness of the card will trap the flying adult male mealybugs. Replace the card when it is filled with mealybugs.

Step 3

Spray the mealybugs directly with an insecticide soap or insecticide oil to terminate them. Look underneath the plant leaves and in the stem area since the bugs tend to hide in those places.

Step 4

Make a mixture of rubbing alcohol and dish detergent (1 tsp. per pint of alcohol), or a mixture of 50 percent alcohol and 50 percent water. Place your mixture inside of a spray bottle. Spray the leaves of your plants with the mixture. Spray underneath the leaves and in the stem area.

Things You'll Need

  • Yellow sticky card
  • Spray bottle
  • Insecticide soap/oil
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Dish detergent

References

  • Plant Bugs & Pests
  • Denver Plants
  • University of Wisconsin: Department of Horticulture
Keywords: mealybug prevention, plant care tips, insecticide soap

About this Author

V. Imani, an educator, minister and published author, has worked with clients such as Harrison House Author, Thomas Weeks III, Candle Of Prayer Company, and Truth & Church Magazine. Her dossier includes JaZaMM WebDesigns, assistant high school band director, district manager for the Clarion Ledger, and event coordinator for the Vicksburg Convention Center.