Mealybugs are the most annoying pests, in my opinion. Especially when I find them on indoor plants. They like to hide and then come in with a sneak attack. Thus, imagine my surprise when I discovered a white cottony growth on plants overnight. That’s their work so I know I need to get rid of mealybugs from my indoor plants. This can be tough, but manageable! Keep reading and see my favorite 4 treatment methods to kill mealybugs, and prevent them from ever coming back!
You are probably wondering where they come from. Well, the most common causes you have mealybugs on your houseplants are:
– bringing home a new plant
– using contaminated potting soil
– putting houseplants outside during the summer
– bringing fresh flowers and fruits from the garden
– flowers from the grocery store!
Thus, as you know, with any houseplant pest infestation, you need to begin the treatment immediately. Thus, the first thing to do is quarantine the affected plants so they won’t infest your other houseplants.
Then, you need to use organic pest control products and methods. These little bugs are quite resistant to synthetic pesticides so I wouldn’t recommend using those. Check out the safer pest control methods listed below instead:
1. Rubbing alcohol
One way to kill mealybugs on houseplants is with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol. The rubbing alcohol will kill the bugs on contact. However, in order for it to be effective, it must come in direct contact with the mealybugs. Thus, as you treat a houseplant, inspect underneath all of the leaves, around the leaf joints, in folds and at the base of the plant for mealybugs.
2. DIY an organic insecticidal soap spray
You can do an organic insecticidal soap spray by yourself. My recipe is 1 tsp of a mild liquid soap per 1 liter of water. The soap will definitely kill the bugs on contact. If the plant is small enough, bring it to the sink or shower to wash the leaves with this soap and water solution, and then give it a good rinse. This will kill a large number of the mealybugs, and help to give you the upper hand.
3. Neem oil
This is, in my opinion, the best natural pest control product. Not only will it kill the bugs, it’s also great for residual pest prevention as well. However, if you have a more concentrate neem oil, make sure to mix in a little bit of soap to help the oil mix with water.
4. Horticultural oil or hot pepper
As an alternative to neem oil for mealybugs, a pre-mixed horticultural oil or hot pepper wax spray, and they also work very well when used directly on mealybugs.
In conclusion, the best advice I can give you when trying to get rid of mealybugs on your houseplants is to use a combination of these 4 methods. Furthermore, be relentless and consistent in your fight, it can take several weeks, or even months to kill the entire population.