Spring Garden Tips
Eco-friendly Mealybug Control

If your indoor plants have cottony masses on the leaves and stems, it is time to break out the rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs.

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eco friendly mealybug controlBeneath this fuzzy mass are soft body scale insects known as mealybugs. These pests suck plant juices causing leaves to yellow, brown and even drop. Mealybugs, like mites, aphids, scales and white flies, secrete the excess as a clear sticky substance known as honeydew.

Persistence is key to controlling these pests. Since the cottony covering protects these insects from water and pesticides you will need to use a two-step approach to their control. Touch each cottony mass with a cotton swap dipped in alcohol. This dissolves the cottony covering and kills the insect below. Then spray the plant with an eco-friendly product like insecticidal soap. This kills the immature insects that have not yet formed the protective covering. Examine the plants and treat weekly as needed.

A bit more information: Be sure to monitor other plants in your indoor houseplant collection. African violets, hoyas, jades and many other succulents are just a few of the mealybugs’ favorites. Minimize the spread by isolating infected plants as soon as these insects are discovered.

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