Fertilizers gardening Tips and Tricks

Simple Ways To Get Rid of MealyBugs

Written by Dr. Shaun Murphy

Today I will talk to you about one of the most common pest intruders, mealybugs, and how to get rid of them.

For some reason this year, pests are more active than usual and few plants in my home got infested with different kinds of pests.

This, of course, adds more work to wear a regular plant care routine but also gives me the opportunity to show you what to look for and how to identify the issue.

Where do pests come from?

From another plant,

  • If one of your plants is under attack pests will find their way in time to all other plants.

They come from outside,

  • They’re extremely active during warm seasons and they find their way to our plants from open doors and windows, even if we have protective screens, some of them are really, really small.
  • If you take your house plant outdoors for the Summer, they’re at a much higher risk to get attacked.

Air vents

  • They also travel via air vents and central heat and AC system,

Cut flowers & Vegetables

  • get to our plants from cut flowers, fruits, and vegetables that we bring from the store or our garden. Fresh produce can carry a lot of different house plant bugs.
Simple Ways To Get Rid of MealyBugs

How to prevent infestation of Mealybugs?

  • Before bringing a new plant into your space, check any visible issues.If the plant you just purchased had any issue but you were not able to detect them right away the issue will become very visible and very fast because the pests, spread rapidly.
  • That is why it’s very, very important to keep them very close watch on your plants. Establish a regular once every seven to 10 days checkup routine.
  • Examine the leaves, top and under, look at the stems and the topsoil closely. If your plant looks like it’s lost its vibrancy and the leaves look droopy, that might be the sign that there is a mealybug party happening and they’re sucking all the juices out of your plant.
  • If you taking your plant outside for the Summers he can enjoy warm weather in some fresh air, make sure to closely and well examine your plant before bringing it back inside.
  • Basic hygiene can help to prevent most issues.By cleaning your plant, you’re not only removing the dust and help the plant to look better and absorb the light more efficiently, but you’re also removing some eggs and pests and this will definitely prevent the spread.
  • All you have to do, just use a moist paper towel and wipe the leaves top and under and stems at least once every two weeks.Weekly?

What are the mealybugs look like?

Lemme show you this on this Dracaena art plant, they are small, fluffy, white insects.

You can see here on Dracaena artist has a moderate infestation and why I say moderate because all the bugs are concentrated just on the top of the plant and the rest of the plant as you can see, looks absolutely clean.

If the infestation is heavy, the whole plant will look like it’s covered with snow.The other plant I have here, Pothos has a very light infestation.If you come closer to me, I’ll show you that right here on the leaf, you just see a few white spots.

One spot here, a couple of spots there, there is one or two spots here and on the stem right here so it’s a very, very light infestation.

Just two weeks ago, this plant had no issue but today during my regular cleaning routine, I made this upsetting discovery.

How to treat a plant with a mealybug issue?

  • Now I will tell you and show you how to treat a plant with a mealybug issue. The first thing you have to do is to isolate the plant with the issue from the rest of the plants.
  • Right away check all other plants that were nearby and keep checking on them regularly, at least twice a week just so you can catch an issue early and it can be easily prevented.
  • Light to moderate infestation can be easily and successfully treated. I will recommend considering discarding a heavily infected plant, get a new plant and get a fresh start.
  • Heavy infestation is so hard to control and it puts the rest of the plans at very high risk.

Here’s what you need for the treatment;

  • gloves, spray bottle,
  • 70% rubbing alcohol,
  • mild concentrations soap,
  • Dawn is the most popular it’s not as harmful to leaves this other dish soaps but I’m gonna use this natural soap for demonstration purposes only,
  • cotton balls,
  • cotton swabs,
  • some kinda bawl, I’m using the watering can make the mixture for the treatment and the chopsticks that I can mix the solution well.
  • Always have some paper towels nearby and scissors just in case if you need them.

Step by Step Process to get rid of mealybugs.

First step

  • The first step is to remove all visible bugs and for this, all we need is rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, and a cotton swab.
  • Alcohol dissolves the protective covering of the pest, adults and the axon kills them instantly.
  • I’m just gonna take a cotton ball and dip it in the alcohol, cotton ball I’ll use to remove them from the leaves.
  • Yeah, you just simply take ’em out. As you can see, they’re turning brown the bugs as soon as they die.(gentle music)You don’t need to rush, just do it slowly.
  • Let’s see, these are all burned bugs. Okay, make sure to do top and under, check everywhere anywhere you can see, any white spots like you see how much the big cluster here, yeah.
  • Caught it, all right so I’m just gonna remove those as well. Yeah, goodbye bugs!
  • So this what you do to removeyou use the cotton ballto remove them from a larger surfaces,for you to get and removethe bugs from all the scrapesand gaps you will need to use cotton swab.
  • Again, you gonna dip it into alcoholand just try and get into the areaswhere it’s so much harder toreach with the cotton ball.
  • So the first step is done and now we can moveto the step
Simple Ways To Get Rid of MealyBugs

Second step

  • The second step is to make a special solution with rubbing alcohol and dish soap.
  • You need about 30 ounces of water, I’m using my watering cancer to mix the solution, the water is already there.
  • You need one cup of rubbing alcohol, this is three-fourths of a cup, so I will use this and a little more,
  • I’m just pouring it in the water. Yeah ’cause I need the full cup so I’m gonna use a little more here
  • I’m putting it in water and just a few drops of dish soap. I’m gonna use the chopsticks to really mix all the ingredients well,a
  • The solution goes into the spray bottle.
  • That’s our next step of the treatment is to spray the plantwell with the solution.
how to get rid of mealybug

Third step

  • The solution is mixed and we can go into the third and final step of the treatment.Now, all we have to do is just spray the plant with the solution.
  • We have to spray not onlyareas that were cleanedwhere we saw the mealybugs,but also the rest of the plant’cause as I mentioned earlier,not everything is visibleto human eyes so wewanna make sure we reachevery different andall parts of the plant.
  • We just simply and it has to be sprayed well.We simply go and we sprayleaves, top and under.
  • We also have to spray the stems.
  • Again, don’t rush just take your timeso this way you cover as much as possiblewith this solution.
  • It is also good idea to spray the stems and a little bit of topsoil caused believe it or not but mealybugs can also get to the roots and spread there as well.
  • Repeat the treatment once or twice a weekuntil the issue has gone.This is the most efficient way in my experience to treat mealybug infestation.

Take care of it.

  • Make sure to cover the surface on which you’re working on the plant, so you’re not gonna damage any furniture or floors.
  • Don’t forget to wash your hands and tools after working on the plant with an issue, before touching any other plants.
  • I hope your fight ends in victory and you do not have to deal with a mealybug infestation ever again.

Thank you.

About the author

Dr. Shaun Murphy