Learn How to Get Rid of Mealybugs Easily naturally to keep your indoor and outdoor plants safe from this common garden pest!
Mealybugs are not only the most common sap-feeding pests, but they’re also known for virus transmission. Find How to Get Rid of Mealybugs Easily in the article below.
Learn how to improve your garden soil for free here
Where Do Mealy Bugs Come From?
Mealybugs thrive in warm and humid weather. They overwinter themselves and spread through previously infested plants when the temperature warms up again.
Also, their honeydew excretion promotes the sooty mold fungus on the affected areas of plants.
How To Identify Mealybugs?
When these bugs start growing in number in a particular area, they develop a wax-like white, powdery coating that shields them and protects their eggs. This covering makes them look like bulks of cotton.
Also, a plant with mealybugs feeding on it looks malformed and weak. Yellow, faded leaves, curled foliage, and the dropping of flowers, buds, and fruits can be the symptoms.
Where to Locate Mealybugs?
Mealybugs can be found on any part of the plants, but they prefer the tender new growth and multiply in the concealed areas. Look for them around stem joints, petioles, under the leaves, barks, flower buds, crevices, developing fruits and other less exposed plant parts.
Which Plants Get Most Affected by Mealybugs?
These pesky pests affect a variety of vegetation, mainly tropical and subtropical plants. Most targeted are greenhouse plants, houseplants, summer annuals, ornamentals like hibiscus, gardenia, and fruit trees like citrus, grape, guava, and mango.
How to Stop Mealybugs from Spreading?
First and foremost, be watchful while planting. Make sure you don’t use already infected plantlets, and whenever you bring new plants, watch them closely.
1. Examine the Plants Regularly
Inspect your plants regularly, as spotting bugs as early as possible is helpful. Use water spurts to get rid of initial infestations.
2. Avoid Overwatering
Don’t overwater or keep your plants and keep them consistently wet. As stated above, these bugs tend to breed faster in moist, humid conditions.
Pruning may also help to eliminate these cotton mass insects. Wipe the leaves and petioles that look infected, or pluck them off. This will help control their spreading.
Control the population of the ants in your garden or where you have kept the houseplants. Like aphids and other scale insects, mealybugs feed on the sap of the plants and excrete honeydew, which is the top food source for ants.
Ants protect mealybugs from predators transporting them to other plants. Thus, increasing the infestation.
How to Get Rid of Mealybugs Easily?
1. Neem Oil
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of Neem oil and 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap to a liter of lukewarm water. Fill this solution in a bottle and spray it directly on the pests. This treatment can gradually eradicate the mealybugs and any other kind of pest infestation or fungal growth after a few uses. But you have to do it regularly every few days until the problem persists.
Check out the best neem oil uses in the garden here
2. Insecticidal Soap
Insecticidal or any liquid soap free from scents and additives can be used to wash the mealybugs away. Mix 2 tablespoons of soap (increase the amount further according to the severity of infestation) in a gallon of water and spray.
3. Rubbing Alcohol
Minor outbreaks can also be cleared with some rubbing alcohol on Q-tip cotton swabs. Furthermore, rubbing alcohol with soapy water can be sprayed on the plants. The recipe is here!
Find out 8 rubbing alcohol uses in the garden here
4. Wood Ash
Add a handful of wood ash to 2 cups of water, stir well, and spray the solution directly on mealybugs or dust it in powder form on affected plants. Make sure to use a light amount. Wood ash application will desiccate them and make your plant pest-free.
Learn about the wood ash uses in the garden here
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Dissolve Apple Cider Vinegar in an equal amount of water and spray it directly on the mealybugs. It will kill them in no time.
Find out how apple cider vinegar can benefit your plants here
6. Diatomaceous Earth
Simply sprinkle the powder directly on the areas affected by mealybugs. It dehydrates and kills these pests within 48 hours.
7. Essential Oils
You can also use peppermint, citrus, and thyme essential oils by mixing 1/2 teaspoon each with 1 tablespoon of mild liquid soap in a liter of lukewarm water. Shake well and spray this solution on the mealybugs.
8. Invite Friendly Insects
Insects that eat mealybugs can serve as the ‘guardians’ of your garden. Ladybugs, pirate bugs, lacewings, dragonflies, etc., are beneficial for protection against mealybugs.
9. Use Leftover Wine
Soak a cotton ball in leftover wine, dab it on mealybugs, and use it once a week till infestation disappears.
10. Use Coconut Oil
You can also make organic pesticides using coconut oil to kill mealybugs. Mix 2 cups of coconut oil, 1/2 tsp liquid soap, and 1/2 tsp of neem oil (optional) in 2 liters of water. Pour it into a spray bottle and use it directly on the mealybugs.