How to get rid of mealybugs (with pictures)

How to get rid of mealybugs (with pictures)
How to get rid of mealybugs (with pictures)

Scale insects are small insects about 3mm long with a flat, oval shape. Like bedbugs, they are part of the hemiptera. These harmful insects can seriously damage your garden. So if you see their presence, you must know how to get rid of them.


Part 1 of 4: recognize mealybugs and the damage they cause

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 1

Step 1. Look for adult mealybugs

They are usually whitish, tan, or brown, but can have other colors as well. Most of them have a smooth, flat appearance, but some may appear fluffy. Adult mealybugs are immobile.

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 2

Step 2. Identify the young mealybugs

These have legs and move very slowly. The wind can also carry them to a point on a plant of their choice. In general, young mealybugs do not have the same color as adults. For example, margarodidae are whitish while young mealybugs are orange.

Once they reach the desired location, they will grab onto the stem or leaf and eventually lose their legs

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 3

Step 3. Recognize the effects of mealybugs on a plant

When they cling to a plant, they pierce it with their mouths and suck out the juice.

Mealybugs can become a problem for gardeners around the world. They survive on the leaves and stems of plants during the winter to reproduce again when the weather is warm and feed on plants in any garden that is nearby

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 4

Step 4. Look for signs of mealybug damage

The first signs are falling yellow leaves. Over time, twigs and entire branches die off, and the bark of the plant cracks and oozes. Mealybugs do damage, but not so much that they kill a plant. The biggest problem they cause is honeydew, a viscous, transparent liquid that they excrete as they feed.

  • Aphids (small, soft-bodied insects) also excrete honeydew. They are often red or green, but can also be any color and are more mobile than mealybugs.
  • Usually sooty mold (caused by black mold) attacks the honeydew and leaves unsightly black spots on the leaves. It interferes with the plant's ability to absorb sunlight.

Part 2 of 4: eliminate mealybugs from houseplants

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 5

Step 1. Scrub the mealybugs from the plants

These insects can attack houseplants, even if they have never been placed outside. Usually they go unnoticed in the nursery or store where you bought the plant and thrive after you bring it home. Remove mealybugs from houseplants by rubbing them with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol, your thumbnail, or with an old brush.

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 6

Step 2. Use insecticidal soap

You also have the option of spraying insecticidal soap on houseplants to kill mealybugs. To prepare this, you need to mix 75 ml of very mild dishwashing liquid or insecticidal soap with four liters of water.

Pour the soap into a spray bottle and spray this on the plant (including the bottom of the stems and leaves) until the soapy solution begins to drip. Repeat the treatment every four to seven days until the mealybugs are gone

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 7

Step 3. Do not use regular soaps

You should not use detergent, ordinary or highly concentrated dishwashing liquid containing antibacterial ingredients or additives. These products can damage plant leaves, cause discoloration and damage leaf tissue.

Part 3 of 4: eradicate caterpillars from your garden

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 8

Step 1. Control a small mealybug infestation

To do this, you can apply the same methods that you used for houseplants. These insects generally live outdoors and attack all species of trees, shrubs, perennials and seasonal plants. When the plants are small enough and the infestation is not too severe, you can eliminate mealybugs the same way you did with houseplants.

  • Remove them using an old brush or your fingernails.
  • Spray the plants with insecticide spray every four days or so.
Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 9

Step 2. Prune the parts of the plant that are infested with mealybugs

If the infestation is severe, you should use a shears or sharp pruning shears to cut the leaves and branches that are most affected.

  • Prune about 6mm above the leaf or at the base of the branch.
  • Use a garden hose to clean the shears or pruning shears before using them on other plants. This will eliminate any mealybugs that may have remained there.
Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 10

Step 3. Spray the plants with horticultural oil

Also known as dormancy oil, it is effective in killing mealybug remnants. Spray it on and under the leaves as well as on the stems. There are several varieties of horticultural oil on the market that are just as effective. Usually, they are mixed at a rate of 10 to 20 ml per four liters of water, but this can vary.

Read and follow the instructions for use carefully. Shake the spray bottle vigorously to mix everything at first, then shake again every few minutes while spraying to keep the oil mixed with the water

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 11

Step 4. Take the seasons into account

Spray the oil on the plants in early spring to kill mealybugs that have survived through the winter before new growth begins. During the summer, spray the oil on the plants in June, July and August, but only if the insects return after spraying in early spring.

Horticultural oils work by smothering mealybugs found on the plant when sprayed. You may need to repeat the treatment after one or two weeks

Part 4 of 4: Prevent Mealybug Infestation with Horticultural Oil

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 12

Step 1. Try the spray on one or two leaves

Wait 24 to 36 hours to make sure the plants are not susceptible to the horticultural oil. It can damage certain plants, such as palmate maple, cedar and juniper.

If the tested leaves show no discoloration, you can continue to apply the oil all over the plant

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 13

Step 2. Do not apply oil in windy weather

You should not spray it on plants when it is very windy, as it may end up on other plants that do not need it and damage them.

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 14

Step 3. Do not spray it on plants when they are wet

If you do this, the oil will not have too much of an effect on the plant and it may be removed before it kills the mealybugs.

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 15

Step 4. Do not apply in wet weather

When the relative humidity of the air reaches 90% or more, you should not spray the horticultural oil on the plants, as it evaporates very slowly. If the temperature rises above 40 degrees Celsius, the leaves of the plants could become damaged.

Likewise, if the temperature is below 5 ° C, the oil will not cover the entire surface evenly, making it ineffective

Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 16

Step 5. Do not apply the oil to some plants

The leaves of plants wilted or weakened due to lack of water will easily be damaged if you spray them with horticultural oil.

  • Also avoid spraying it on the leaves and stems of young plants or shoots, as it may damage them.
  • Plants that have been sprayed with sulfur due to fungal diseases in the past thirty days should not be given horticultural oil. The substance may cause a harmful reaction to plants when in contact with sulfur.
Get Rid of Scale Insects Step 17

Step 6. Wear eye protection when spraying the oil

It is not too toxic to animals or humans, but it can irritate the skin and eyes.

Popular by topic