Mealybugs are unarmored scale insects found in moist, warm plant habitats. They cause damage by sucking the juice from their host plants. Mealybugs tend to favor new growth. Over time, their damage causes the leaves to yellow and eventually drop from the plant.
The largest, wingless, fuzzy ones are fertile females. They are mobile, but cannot fly. Juveniles are mobile, but are also small enough to be carried on the wind and they are very hard to see. Male nymphs secrete a tiny, fluffy cocoon and develop into winged adults. Males then fly about seeking females to mate with. Eggs can lie dormant for some time before they hatch. Each female usually lays from 200 to 600 eggs in the thick ovisac. Some species of mealybugs give birth to live young. After several weeks, the nymphs develop into adults.
Below are some common effective treatments for mealybugs. Always treat all parts of the plant including any cracks or crevices they can hide in. They like dark moist areas and the base of stems. Treatments must be repeated once a week for 2-3 weeks to ensure all pests are eliminated.
NOTE: Always treat a small portion of the plant first to ensure specific treatment does not harm plant.
Pour 1oz. apple cider vinegar and mix it with 2-3 oz. water. Spray plant liberally. Apple cider vinegar stops the molting process of mealybugs.
Dip cotton balls and swabs in 70% rubbing alcohol and remove all visible mealybugs. Mix 1/2 cup (120ml) of rubbing alcohol with few drops of Dawn dish soap. Add 1/2 quart (473ml) of water and mix. Spray the whole plant, not only where mealybugs are visible.
Combine 1 tablespoon (15ml) dish soap with 1 quart (946ml) water and spray down your plant. Soap will suffocate mealybugs.
Neem Oil (Recommended)
Coat your plants in neem oil solution to keep mealybugs from eating your plant. Neem oil is a natural protective coating that will coat your plants in a nutrient-rich oil and make it harder for bugs to feed. Make sure it is cold-pressed neem oil. Spray solution on all parts of the plant leaves and stems ensuring to get the underside of the leaves.
Mix 100ml - 3% hydrogen peroxide into 500ml water. Make sure all of the soil gets very wet. The hydrogen peroxide may fizzle on contact with the soil or roots. Spray solution on all parts of the plant leaves and stems ensuring to get the underside of the leaves.