Those Pesky Mealy Bugs

Mealy bugs are bugs that look like cotton specks that like to live in the tight spaces on your succulents.  Once you see them, you need to deal with them asap and if you have a few,  the good news is they are easy to treat.  This sheet has a recipe for deterring mealy bugs. Mealie Bugs.pdf  An easier remedt is 70% Isopropyl Alcohol sprayed directly onto the leaves of your succulents.  Be sure that they’re not in direct sun at the time.   Since Alcohol dries very quickly, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.  Some of the thinner-skinned succulents, especially Aeoniums, can be harmed by spraying them while the sun is out.  Most handle it well, though, even in the sun.  Use with caution until you get the hang of it at first.Mealie Bugs.pdf I usually have at least a couple of spray bottles filled with it and love how it cleans my succulents so well.

Here is some information from succulents.co.za below:

Mealy bugs are soft-bodied, wingless insects up to 4mm in length, they are white to pink in colour.  Adult mealy bugs are covered in white waxy threads and a waxy coating which makes them so difficult to eradicate.   They can be found on leaves (esp. the axil), stems and roots (root mealy bug).

Mealy bugs have sucking mouthparts that they use to extract large amount of sap from the host plant.  These insects extract a large amount of sap in order to obtain enough proteins, the excess sap is excreted as honeydew.  The excreted honeydew attracts ants and sooty mould which inhibits the plants ability to manufacture food.

 

Signs Of Mealybug Infestation:

Image result for mealybugs on succulent

Non-infected plants can be infected from infected plats as mealy bugs can crawl from plant to plant.  Humans and animals may infect non-infected plants as they may be carried from one plant to the other.

Examine the foliage for individual bugs by looking at the upper and lower areas of the leaves, the axis (where the leaves join the stem), look between leaves especially tightly packed leaves and rosettes.  Severe infestations resemble patches of cotton all over the plant.  Look for honeydew and sooty mould. Another sign is the presence of ants, ants are attracted to the honeydew that is excreted by the mealy bugs.

Damage Done by Mealybug:

Plants will seldom die of these pests due to heavy infestations being unsightly (you just can’t miss it).  Mealy bugs excrete a honeydew that attracts ants and possibly black sooty mould.  The ants and the sooty mould do not do much damage but rather makes the plant look unsightly. Mealy Bugs will kill off leaves and if left unchecked they will kill the plant. Mealy bugs also effect the development of flowers and stems (especially in succulents with fleshy stems).

Treatment of Mealybug:

Environmentally friendly alternatives to poison:

Biological control – Introduce Hypoaspis and/or Cryptolaemus (Australian Ladybird)  to the infected plants.  Hypoaspis is a small mite that feeds on small insects, especially mealy bug.

Manual removal – You can pick the bugs off manually in plants that are not severely infested or use a strong jet of water (be careful not to damage plants).

Manual Removal – Use a 50/50 mix of water and methylated spirits to wipe away the bugs, the spirits should kill any remaining pests.

Chemical Poisons:

  • Tokuthion – 5ml/10l water
  • Chlorpirifos – 100ml/10l
  • Confidor – 10ml/10l
  • Malathion – 25ml/10l

Published by Succulent Designs by Mary

Mary Roberts is a Landscape Designer with a preference towards implementing lush drought tolerant gardens. Mary strives to enhance your enjoyment of your outdoor spaces and to ease the transition of indoors to out. As a cancer survivor, Mary realized the restorative value of being outdoors and especially the benefits of following your passion and being creative. Mary can redesign your whole landscape, a specific area, but loves to introduce accent containers in the landscape or patios. She strives to stay current with trends and technology and also teaches classes/parties to assist in a mutual small project, ex., succulent wreath or small container. Book an appointment to evaluate your landscape or class for your group party!

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