Mealybugs are a common houseplant and garden nuisance. It doesn’t take long before your beloved plants are crawling with gross-looking clusters of white fuzzy, scale insects. While some of these pests are manageable, a mealybug infestation devastates outdoor and indoor plants. Using a home remedy for mealybugs is vital to keep them in check and ensure your plant remains healthy.
Various insects cause havoc to plants, from spider mites and fungus gnats to mealybugs. Unfortunately, an infestation causes damage to the leaves, stems, and plant roots, eventually killing the affected plant. Even worse, one infested plant quickly infests surrounding ornamental plants.
Luckily, simple home remedies eliminate the leaf and root mealybug, fungus gnat, spider mite, Japanese beetle, and other pest bugs and prevent a plant infestation. While it takes a bit of patience and effort, there’s still time to save your plants from destruction and help them thrive.
Easy DIY Remedies to Control Mealybugs
Everything in nature has a purpose, including insects. But, sometimes, we need to step in and provide assistance when they get out of hand. When performing pest control, you don’t need to fill your home and garden with harmful chemicals. Discover several safe and natural ways to kill and stop mealybugs in your home from taking over indoor and outdoor plants.
What Are Mealy Bugs?
You probably have mealybugs if you notice groups of weird-looking, gray-white pests on your plants. Learn what a mealybug is and find a detailed description of this plant pest.
Mealybugs are wingless scale insects with soft bodies. They are tiny, averaging about a fifth of an inch long. They congregate in colonies, making it easier to spot them. They are covered in a white, cottony wax that protects them from heat and moisture loss, and they suck plant sap from soft-stemmed plants and roots.
Female mealybugs lay 100 to 200 or more eggs in cottony sacs attached to the stems and leaves of a plant. The eggs hatch five to ten days later, and the nymphs exit the sac once the temperature and humidity are favorable.
Does Your Plant Have a Mealybug Infestation?
Mealybugs are small and tend to hide in hidden plant parts. You may not realize you have a pest infestation until it’s too late. Explore common signs of mealybugs to help you determine if you have a mealy bug problem.
Inspecting the plant is the best way to determine if you have a mealybug infestation. Look for patches of white fuzz, discolored leaves, and signs of plant distress.
Their root and leaf feeding activity allows for the growth of sooty mold. It causes a plant to have wilted, yellowed or stunted leaves and bloom reduction. Use home remedies to kill mealybugs and save your plants.
Natural Remedy for Getting Rid of Mealybugs
The best remedy for getting rid of mealybugs is diatomaceous earth. This naturally occurring powder kills various insects, making it an ideal choice for pest control on houseplants and outside plants.
DE Mealybug Treatment
To treat plants with DE, dust the leaves and stems lightly with food-grade diatomaceous earth and spread the powder on the soil around the plant’s base. The DE abrades the insect’s exoskeleton as it travels over the powder, leading to dehydration and death. Reapply the powder after watering or rainfall until the pests are gone.
Home Remedy for Mealybugs on Houseplants
One of our favorite natural ways to kill mealybugs is rubbing alcohol. It’s a natural, colorless liquid and a less toxic way to get rid of pests on plants than harsh chemicals. Find out how to use this common household item to eliminate houseplant mealybugs.
Isolate the infected plant from healthy plants to stop the spread of insects. Rub the leaves gently with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to kill the scale insect. Remove the patches of dead bugs with a paper towel and check the plant regularly until all signs of mealybugs are gone.
If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol at home, you can also substitute neem oil. Follow our guide for using neem oil to banish mealybugs from your plants while keeping the leaves green and healthy.
Home Remedies to Kill Mealybugs Outdoors
The mealybug is a plant pest that affects indoor and outdoor plants, and what works inside may not be as effective for garden pest control. Try a few home remedies to kill mealybugs on outdoor ornamental plants.
Introducing beneficial insects is the most straightforward way to kill and prevent mealybugs in the garden. Consider planting white clover, rosemary, marigolds, and fennel around the plants you want to protect to attract parasitic wasps, ladybugs, and other mealybug predators.
Another way to stop an infestation is to hose down your plants regularly with a strong water spray. The water knocks the insects off the leaves and stems and discourages ants from bringing mealybugs to the garden bed.
DIY Mealybug Insecticidal Soap
The simplest remedy for getting rid of mealybugs is to make your own spray with insecticidal soap. While your local garden center carries different types of this product, preparing one at home is easy.
Mix a quart of water with four teaspoons of liquid dish detergent in a spray bottle and shake it gently. Spray the insecticidal soap directly on the affected plants. Apply a generous amount, spray the solution over the soil, and let it sit for two hours. Rinse the plants well with clean water to dislodge any leftover bugs.
Tips for Stopping a Mealybug Infestation
An obvious way to get rid of mealybugs naturally is to prevent them in the first place. Discover some helpful tips to keep these pests off your plants indoors and outside.
Ants are notorious for protecting mealybugs since they benefit from feeding on the honeydew they produce. Therefore, keeping ants out of the garden is a good step in reducing the number of mealybugs.
In addition, decrease the amount of water and fertilizer you give your plants to lower nitrogen levels and harden plant growth. Spray hardy plants regularly with strong blasts of water to knock pests off the plant leaf.
Try lowering the indoor temperature to 60°F at night if your houseplants can tolerate it to discourage the productivity of mealybugs which prefer tropical conditions.
If you discover insects on your plant, give it two to three weekly applications of insecticide to kill mealybugs and stop an infestation. Always isolate a new plant to ensure it’s not infested before placing it beside older plants.
A garden thrives when surrounded by honeybees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. However, plant bugs like the mealy bug are a nuisance that turns a lush plant into a struggling one, especially if the entire plant is infested. Fortunately, treating an infected plant using various DIY pest control methods is possible.
We hope your plants flourish after using a home remedy for mealybugs, and we’d love it if you’d share our mealybug elimination and control remedies with the plant lovers in your life on Pinterest and Facebook.