How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Mealy Bugs on Plants?
When you have plants, you need to take extra care of them–even more than yourself because they tend to develop many problems that can lead to death. Insects and Fungi are common plant problems. Mealybugs are also one of the common problems that are not deadly but still extremely harmful to plants. They do not like to show themselves until the plant is utterly infested and destroyed by them. In this article, we are going to tell you the signs of mealybugs on plants. You will also get to know the treatment and prevention for them. So let’s start reading.
1. What Are Mealybugs?
Mealybugs are small insects found on plants’ leaves and stems, especially indoor plants. They are white colored, but sometimes you can find brown and cream-colored mealybugs on the plants. At first glance, they do not look like insects; you may mistake them for fungus or some other growth on your plant. When mealybugs aren’t matured enough, they also look like waxy substances on plants.
1.1. How Do Mealybugs Get on Plants?
There is no proper answer to it. Mealybugs are silent insects, and in one second, you will see the plants being completely okay, but in another second, you will start seeing signs of mealybugs on plants. Following are some ways how mealybugs can get on plants.
- If you buy a new plant, it can have signs of mealybugs, which can harm other plants too.
- Sometimes they can get in your house and eventually on the plants through the flowers, fruits, or vegetables you buy.
- An empty pot or already contaminated soil can have mealybugs, too; if you put a plant in it, the pot or soil will infest it too.
- Ants are the most common way a mealybug can get on a plant. They bring mealybugs with them when they get on a plant to take honey residue produced by the same bugs.
2. Signs That A Plant Has Mealybugs
When a plant gets mealybugs, you will not get to know about them initially but as time passes, some signs will start showing. These signs can help you identify the presence of mealybugs on your plants. Some of the signs of mealybugs on plants are:
2.1. Presence Of Cotton-Like Material On Plants
The biggest giveaway that the mealybugs have infested your plant is the production of cotton-like material on the plants. Even though other plant insects can also cause it, you can identify if it’s mealybugs or not by pulling back a bit of cotton and checking if there are white small clusters present. These are probably the eggs of mealybugs.
2.2. Deformed Or Yellowed Leaves
Even though there can be several reasons for deformed or yellowed leaves, mealybugs are one of them too. When you feel like the stems or leaves of your plants are sapping a bit, immediately check for signs of mealybugs on plants. They like to attack slowly but it can turn out deadly.
2.3. Weakened Plant
Mealybugs aren’t deadly, but if they stay on a plant for long it weakens the plant slowly. First, the stems and leaves start giving out and the plant’s growth starts deteriorating after some time. The plant can die too, but it probably takes a lot of time for mealybugs to fo it.
4. Treatment For Mealybugs
If unfortunately, your plant becomes a victim of mealybugs, and you have previously seen signs of mealybugs on plants, you can get rid of them by following treatments:
4.1. Isopropyl Alcohol
This treatment is good for killing a small number of mealybugs on a plant. When you spot signs of mealybugs on plants, try rubbing some alcohol on them. 70% or less solution of Isopropyl Alcohol is effective for killing mealybugs. All you have to do is put the alcohol on a swab or cotton or a dropper and put it on the area of the plant that mealybugs have infested.
4.2. Homemade Pesticide Spray
If you cannot buy an insecticidal spray, make one on your own by using some simple ingredients. All you need is some liquid soap and water. Make sure that the amount of water and liquid water is the same. Take half a liter of liquid soap and the same amount of water. Put both in a bottle and shake them so they can mix well. Then spray it where you see signs of mealybugs on plants. Some plants are quite sensitive to harsh chemicals, so test the solution by spraying it on a small area of the plant. If the plant takes it well, start spraying the plant regularly.
4.3. Neem Oil
Neem oil is useful for killing mealybugs on plants. It is easily available in markets, and you can spray it on plants on a regular basis. If you buy concentrated neem oil, mix it with some liquid soap, so it doesn’t leave an oily residue on plants. Not only will it kill mealybugs, but it will also prevent other pesticides from growing on the plant. Even though neem oil works like magic, it needs a few days to kick off its effect. Be patient with it because it will not start killing mealybugs as soon as you apply it to plants.
5. How To Prevent Mealybugs On Plants?
There are many measures that you can take to prevent signs of mealybugs on plants. Mealybugs do not crawl around the plant and mostly sit on stems and leaves. But if by chance they start moving, they can get to the other plants and infest them too. In this situation, you need to know how to prevent other plants and the already treated plant from mealybugs. Following are some tips to help you prevent mealybugs:
5.1. Get Rid Of the Upper Layer Of Soil
If you have already killed all the bugs on the plant, get rid of its top layer of soil for preventive measures. This way, if you have missed signs of mealybugs on plants somehow, you will get rid of them.
5.2. Wash The Pots
You have to wash the pots from outside thoroughly so if there is any mealybug remaining it will get washed away and won’t reproduce further. Make sure to cover all the parts of the pot, the sides, and the bottom.
5.3. Change The Location Of the Plant
Sometimes the mealybugs stay in the same location and can attack the plants again. So to prevent them, you should change the plant’s location so they won’t get on it again. After clearing the plant’s spot, wash it with water.
6. Final Words:
Mealybugs are harmful to plants, but if you take proper care of them and do treatments to stop the production of these insects, your plants will be okay. When you start seeing mealybugs on plants, immediately take measures to prevent them from growing further. If you liked this article, visit our website for more articles.