How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs
Have you ever noticed small cottony patches or a white insect on your plant? These small white insects are quite prevalent in greenhouses and indoor plants and are known as mealybugs. Mealybugs are clever little devils, they like to hide and then come in for the sneak attack. It seems like overnight there’s white cottony growth on plants that appeared out of nowhere. To feed your curiosity, we’re going to learn How to get rid of mealybugs and what we can do when there’s an infestation.
WHAT ARE MEALY BUGS?
Mealybugs are small, white insects that feed on the sap in plants. Although mealybugs are small, they can cause significant damage to your plants and garden if left untreated. They are mostly found in warmer growing climates and are soft-bodied, wingless insects that often appear as white cottony masses on the leaves, stems, and fruit of plants.
HOW MEALYBUGS ATTACK YOUR HOUSEPLANT?
Different species of mealybugs attack your plant in a different area. But they all have two things in common.
First, they feed in clusters. They’ll attach to a spot and stay there. Other bugs follow suit. This creates a cluster of bugs, making them easy to spot.
Second, all mealybugs suck the sap out of plants. They Feed on the plant nutrients, making the plant weak. Without the nutrients from the sap, your plant can’t go into its’ photosynthesis process. When mealybugs steal too much sap from your houseplant, you will notice the plant wilt and die.
QUICK AND EASY METHODS:
The first thing to do is quarantine the affected plant(s) so that you can prevent mealybugs from infesting your other houseplants. Also check for other plants which are showing similar effects.
METHOD 1 - SMALL INFESTATIONS WITH RUBBING ALCOHOL
It is a very simple yet effective treatment. You just have to Dip a cotton swab in 70-percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol and wipe it over the surface of the infested plant which has mealybugs on it. This treatment will kill and remove them from the plant. Avoid using other kinds of alcohol or you could damage the plant you’re treating. Make sure you get underneath the leaves and inside the crevices on the branches.
METHOD 2- USING ACTIVATED NEEM OIL
Activated Neem oil when used as directed, it affects insects' feeding abilities and acts as a repellent. Spray the plant you’re treating until it’s soaked. Make sure you spray underneath the leaves, at the base of the branches, and over the top of the soil the plant is in. After spraying don’t keep the plant in direct sunlight or extreme heat shift it in shade area. Neem oil being a natural substance is safe to use on vegetable plants and other edible plants.
METHOD 3- INTRODUCE PREDATORY INSECTS
Get natural predators of mealybugs like lady beetles, lace bugs, parasitic wasps, lacewings, and beetles. They are very common and are used for outdoor plants on which there is a swarm of mealybugs. They are also used in greenhouses and are readily available to purchase from online shops.
METHOD 4- DIY HOMEMADE PESTICIDE SPRAY
Take one onion, one garlic, and one teaspoon of cayenne pepper blend it and make it into a paste. Mix the paste into one-quarter of the water and steep it for 1 hour. Strain this solution and add one tablespoon of liquid dish soap. Then mix the solution well, pour it in a spray and use it on the infested plant. You can store this solution for up to 1 week in refrigerator. Repeat this treatment 3-4 times a day for best results.
METHOD 5-BIO FUNGICIDE
A number of stronger bio fungicides are approved for use against mealybugs and one of them is Recovernutri which is a combination of special enzymes, antioxidants, minerals & vitamins. It develops Systemic Acquired Resistance in plants to fight against fungal pathogens.
Dosage: Spray:0.5GM/liter of water.
In order to prevent the infection to reoccur always keep a watch on your plant and as the bug reappears just use the above methods to prevent its multiplication. Clean your plants Keep the plant in sunlight to provide more security. However often, check the new plants while you purchase, because greenhouses are the perfect breeding ground for them. If you take care of your plant, you can avoid them altogether. It’s easier to prevent a big mealybug infestation if you routinely eliminate small outbreaks.