Identify Mealybug and its control methods

Mealybug on hibiscus
Mealybugs are pests

How to identify Mealybug and its control method? Found in warmer growing climates, mealybugs are soft-bodied, wingless insects that often appear as white cottony masses on the leaves, stems and fruit of plants. They feed by inserting long sucking mouth parts, called stylets, into plants and drawing sap out of the tissue. Best way to prevent them is to avoid over watering and over fertilizing plants. Please continue to discover more control methods for mealybugs.

Table of Contents

Identify Mealybug and its control method

Adults (1/10 — 1/4 inch long) are soft, oval distinctly segmented insects that are usually covered with a white or gray mealy wax. Small nymphs, called crawlers, are light yellow and free of wax. They are active early on, but move little once a suitable feeding site is found.

Mealybug infestation
mealybugs on a tree trunk

Control Method

Preventive methods

  1. Prune out light infestations or dab insects with a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol.
  2. Do not over water or over fertilize — mealybugs are attracted to plants with high nitrogen levels and soft growth.
  3. If the infested plant can tolerate the cold, place the plant on a windowsill during cold weather. This will attract the mealybugs to the leaf furthest from the window, where they can be wiped off with a cloth.

Kitchen Cabinet control methods

  1. An aqueous solution containing 50% v/v isopropyl alcohol (you can find it with name Rubbing Alcohol) and 1% w/v sodium dodecyl sulfate (found in most household detergents) is effective against mealybugs. Isopropyl alcohol dissolves the outer waxy covering, while the sodium dodecyl sulfate attacks the mealybugs themselves.
  2. Neem oil disrupts the growth and development of pest insects and has repellent and anti-feedant properties. Best of all, it’s non-toxic to honey bees and many other beneficial insects. Mix 1 oz (30 mL)/ gallon(5 liters) of water and spray every 7-14 days, as needed.
  3. Kitchen insect spray: This all-purpose insect spray. To make a batch, combine 1 garlic bulb, 1 small onion, and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a food processor or blender and process into a paste. Mix into 1 quart of water and steep for 1 hour. Strain through a cheesecloth and add 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap. Mix well. The mixture can be stored for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

Commercial/Chemicals and pesticides

  1. Diatomaceous earth can be applied around the stem of the plant. Diatomaceous earth contains small silica particles that are trapped within the joints of ants. They cause irritation and eventual death. Diatomaceous earth is especially useful for an infestation that has developed a symbiotic relationship with local ants.
  2. Diazinon can be used, but often requires multiple applications.
  3. Spray dichlorvos 76 EC 2 ml/l, monocrotophos 36 WSC 1.5 ml/l, methyl demeton 25 EC 2 ml/l, chlorpyriphos 20 EC 2 ml/l, imidacloprid 200 SL 1ml/l or malathion 2.5ml/l of water at 15 days intervals.
  4. Use dichlorovos (0.2%) in combination with fish oil rosin soap (25 g/l) as spray or for dipping the fruits for two minutes.

Further reading