Forum Thread: How to Get Rid of Mealybugs

What Are Mealybugs?

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Mealybugs are snowy-colored insects, soft in body. They mostly inhabit warm climates, clinging closely to plants grown indoors and outdoors. With their cotton like soft body, they inject a stylet (long sucking mouthpart) into plants to suck-up the sap from plant tissues. At base level, Mealybugs do seem harmless. However, when an infestation increases in number, the consequences include a weak plant, curling and yellowing of leaves. To elude the effects of an all out attack on plants, here are some methods that have proven effective in getting rid of Mealybugs.

Step 1: Pruning

Pruning has proven effect in small incidences of an infestation of Mealybugs. They tend to congregate on stems, fruits and leaves of plants. If Mealybugs are found on leaves, they can either be picked off or the entire leaf removed. If only a few Mealybugs are found, the option to pick them off can be used, subsequently washing with water to remove residue. In stances where Mealybugs are attached to the stem or fruit, another method might be the best instrument.

Step 2: Q-Tips and Alcohol

Using approximately 70% of isopropyl alcohol or whatever type you have hanging around the home and a few q-tips, you might be able to rid your plants of these cotton mass insects. This is a highly recommended procedure. Simply swab the q-tips in the alcohol and apply to the Mealybugs. For better application, you can mix things up a bit. Use the ingredients and follow the procedure below:

• ½ cup of rubbing alcohol
• 1 quart liquid soap
• Q-tip or spray bottle

Proceeding the alcohol and liquid mixture, spray the combination directly to the Mealybug. The alcohol will remove the sticky substance or coating, while the soap penetrates the skin to cripple them.

Step 3: Natural Predators

Beneficial insects can be used to prey on Mealybugs. These insects include ladybugs, Mealybug destroyers, and lacewings. These insects are commercially available so they can easily be sourced.

Step 4: Bug Blaster

The bug blaster is a nonhazardous, non-poisonous option to getting rid of Mealybugs. Generating a wall of water approximately 3600, the blaster is used to blast pests on both sides of leaves. This kills all immature Mealybugs and 70% of adults. Using this method along with the alcohol spray is doubly effective. The bug blaster is also used as a superb plant cleaner, by removing dust, mold and dirt.

Step 5: Neem Oil

Neem oil possesses insecticidal properties. Acquired from the Neem tree, when used according to labeling, the oil is absorbed into the plants and doesn't necessarily need to be applied directly. It is safe to be used on vegetables and even food plants, according to the Environmental Protection Association.

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