Jan 29 , 2020
Mealybugs! Part 5 of my series on pest treatment. Probs my least feared bug, despite its gross appearance. Slow moving, they don’t spread to other plants fast nor do as much damage at the same speed as other pests.
Easy to identify by the characteristic white cotton wool fluff residue they leave behind. Like any other pest, they make their way into our collections via other plants and soil, & are particularly good at hiding as they’re drawn to little nooks & crannies where they’ll get comfy, multiple & spread from before you even realise they’re there.
Plants they’re commonly found on incl: Hoyas, particularly Indian Rope, heart leaf philodendron, chain of hearts & succulents, including string of pearls & similar.
Treating them can be drawn out, being one of the hardest to budge if I’m honest. Repeated treatments are recommended, as is checking for months after they’ve been spotted, given their skill at hiding. Once I notice their cotton wool type residue, here’s how I treat them:
1. Quarantine the infested plant & check nearby ones for signs of bugs
2. Rinse off the plant with high pressure water, targeting nooks & crannies, to dislodge what you can
3. Wipe the leaves down. Some people choose to use cotton tips to clean with, using their pest treatment of choice on it
4. Spray thoroughly with your pest treatment of choice. Every nook & cranny! Common treatments include: isopropyl alcohol (I dilute it 1:10 in water in a spray bottle), neem oil, pyrethrum & my first choice of King Hit by The Bug Boss which I buy from Dr Greenthumbs. I often alternate between isopropyl & pest spray. I recommend systemic treatment for these guys within the mix to help you budge these hard to move pests
5. Repeat a week later. It’s tempting to repeat more often but avoid being over zealous with pest spray as this can do its own damage. Spot test your spray of choice on a plant for a day before using it as thoroughly as you need to for these guys as some plants don’t respond too well to some treatments. Last thing you need is to harm a plant through an attempted cure
6. Remove dead leaves, as you’ll no doubt take bugs with you as you pluck them off
Links to other pest tips can be found below:
Plus more to come