Mealybugs are, without a doubt, one of the most common indoor plant pests you’re going to come across. Shaped like tiny little cotton balls and just as soft, they infest your plant and survive by removing fluid from its tissue, making it appear limp and deprived of nutrients. If you see leaves starting to curl and turning yellow, you might have an infestation on your hands.
How to Eliminate Mealybugs
When there are just a few
To safely eliminate the bugs, first try pruning the affected areas and make sure to remove them intact, with all mealybugs attached. If you only have a few bugs, try picking them off by hand and then washing your plants with an organic insecticidal soap. If you don’t have that, try using a horticultural oil or neem oil. It’s pretty easy to wash the plant in your shower, just make sure to rinse it completely. The oil, or soap, works to suppress the younger nymphs by cleaning off the wax and sooty mold they leave.
Another option is to use a standard isopropyl alcohol, at a 70% or less solution. To try it, pour a capful and dip in a q-tip. Rub each mealybug with the swab and you should be set.
Or if they're everywhere
If you have a more extensive infestation, try diluting a 10-25% solution of isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle. Spritz your plants and repeat weekly until all signs of mealybugs are gone.
While insecticidal soaps, horticultural oil, and neem oil are all natural and safe, you can try testing it on a small part of the plant before to make sure you don’t cause leaf burn.
Keep an Eye on it
We recommend monitoring your indoor plants with Lively Root's digital thermometer and treating them continually as a preventative with Arber's Organic Bio Insecticide as needed. Be sure to water, fertilize, and give them adequate light, so they aren't stressed, drawing unwanted pests in their time of weakness.
Featured image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/scotnelson/42234121315