Houseplant Horrors- Mealy bugs
Houseplants are a wonderful addition to any home, but by midwinter- many houseplants are plagued with various pests driven indoors by the cold.
Perhaps you've recently noticed cottony-looking insects on your plants. These annoying little pest are mealy bugs. Mealy bugs have piercing/sucking mouth parts which they use to suck the fluids from leaves and stems, robbing plants of essential nutrients in the process.
Mealy bug infestations leave a sticky waste residue known as Honeydew, if it's not removed from the plant a black fungus known as "sooty mold" will grow on the plant.
There are several different ways to remove mealybugs:
- If you see ladybugs nearby, pick them up gently and place them on your infected plants. Ladybugs will devour the mealybugs and their residue.
- Spray the plant with a steady stream of water until the bugs are washed away.
How to Prevent Mealybug Infestations:
- Use alcohol on a cotton ball with a toothpick or commercial "Q" swab stick for mealybug control. Swab gently until all bugs and honeydew have been removed.
- Quarantine all new plants brought into the home for 10 days, keep them away from your current indoor plants and watch for any signs of infestation of any pests.
- Do not Over-water your plants, as this attracts mealy bugs and other pests.
Although mealy bugs are not known for "biting" people, be sure to wash your hands and clothing thoroughly after coming into contact with them.
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