How to Deal with Mealybug

Mealybugs are insects in the family Pseudococcidae, unarmored scale insects found in moist, warm habitats. Many species are considered pests by some humans as they feed on plant juices of greenhouse plants, house plants and subtropical trees and also act as a vector for several plant diseases. Some Ants, however live in symbiotic relationships with them.


*Killing Small Infestations with Rubbing Alcohol
1. Dip a cotton swab in 70-percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Avoid using other kinds of alcohol or you could damage the plant you’re treating.
2. Rub the cotton swab over the surface of the infested plant. Make sure you get underneath the leaves and inside the crevices on the branches. Mealybugs tend to hide in hard-to-reach places, so it’s important you completely cover the plant you’re treating with the rubbing alcohol.
3. Use a spray bottle to apply rubbing alcohol to large plants. Fill the spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and spray it over the surface of large plants that are infested with mealybugs.
4. Remove any mealybugs you see on the plant. Mealybugs look like small, white bugs with a waxy coating. Pick the mealybugs off with your hand and dispose of them in the trash. Mealybugs don't bite, but you may want to wear gardening gloves so you don't get their waxy coating on your fingers.
5. Repeat weekly until the mealybugs are gone. Since mealybugs are good at hiding in hard to reach places, you'll likely need to do multiple applications of rubbing alcohol before they're all killed. Even if you don't see anymore mealybugs, it's a good idea to do a few more applications just in case there are some lingering bugs.You'll know the mealybugs are gone when you can't see anymore on the plant and the plant remains healthy and green.

*Using Neem Oil for Potted or Shaded Plants
1. Mix together water, liquid dish soap, and neem oil in a spray bottle. Use 1 teaspoon (4.9 mL) of neem oil and 2-3 drops of dish soap. Neem oil is a vegetable oil that comes from neem trees that can be used to kill mealybugs.
2. 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. You want the mealybugs to be completely smothered with the neem oil mixture.
3. Move the plant to a shaded area to dry. Don’t keep the plant in direct sunlight or extreme heat or it could burn. If you’re spraying outdoor plants that are rooted in the ground, wait for a shady day when it’s below 85 °F (29 °C) out.
4. Spray the plant weekly until the mealybugs are gone. One application of neem oil probably won’t kill all the mealybugs on the plant. Because mealybugs have a rapid lifecycle, you’ll need to routinely kill the newly-hatched bugs every week until all of the mealybugs have been killed off.
If the plant looks healthy and you don't see anymore mealybugs on it, they're most likely gone.
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