Mealybug Identification in Florida
What Are Mealybugs?
Mealybugs are tiny oval-shaped lawn pests covered in a white cotton substance. They’re often found on ficus, citrus, palms and orchids and since they’re only about ⅛ of an inch long, they’re best seen under a microscope.
Similar to aphids, mealybug are a sap-sucking insect. This means they pierce leaves with their mouthparts to suck up plant sap, and excrete honeydew. Honeydew is a sticky substance that can lead to ant infestations and black sooty mold.
If mealybugs are not kept under control, the infested plant will eventually die, so it’s important to know these tips for getting rid of mealybugs on houseplants.
How Do I Know I Have Mealybugs On My Plants?
Mealybugs are about ⅛ of an inch long, about the size of aphids, so it can be difficult to identify them without a microscope. However, you can look for evidence of mealybug damage on your plants.
Signs of a mealybug infestation can include a waxy cotton substance on the leaves, honeydew, or black sooty mold growing on your plant. Since mealybugs are sap-sucking insects, this can reduce necessary plant moisture, slowing plant growth and causing leaves to drop.
How Do I Get Mealybugs Off Houseplants?
- Isolate the plant to protect your other houseplants
- Use a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol to kill the mealybugs on contact
- Use soap and water mixed in a spray bottle
- Wash leaves off with soap and water
- Use neem oil mixed with soap and water
- If the mealybugs live in the soil of the plant, replace the plant with fresh soil.
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