How to Get Rid of Mealy Bugs on Palms, Hunker

How to Get Rid of Mealy Bugs on Palms

Things You’ll Need

Neem oil or pesticide

Mealybugs often leave palm owners wondering if their plants became covered in cotton. Mealybugs resemble the white, fluffy stuff and use their piercing mouth parts to suck fluids from the plant. They also tend to nest in deep crotches of plants, often making them difficult to reach and treat. Mealybugs commonly infect palms by traveling into your home on other plants. The bugs can rob palms of vital nutrients, leading to their demise. Fortunately, methods are available to control the mealybug infestation and remove them from your palm plant.

Step 1

Remove the mealybugs with tweezers. Mealybugs are often found in locations where the leaves meet the stems and will also crawl around the edge of the palm’s pot. The upper parts of the palm, in addition to the sides of leaves, are also commonly frequented by the bugs. Place the bugs in a lidded container and pour boiling water over them, or squish them with your fingers.

Step 2

Dip a piece of cotton in isopropyl alcohol and wipe the palm’s leaves. You can also dab the bugs with the alcohol-soaked cotton. The alcohol will clean the leaves of the sticky substance mealybugs often leave behind, as well as kill the bugs.

Step 3

Spray the plant with a forceful hose to remove the bugs from the palm leaves. The water can also remove any egg sacks the bugs have placed on the plant. Follow the spraying by cleaning the leaves with alcohol.

Step 4

Spray the palm plant with neem oil or pesticide. The sprays will often suffocate the mealybugs. Spray the product on the top and underside of the palm’s leaves as well as around the pot to kill any bugs that attempt to crawl away. Most of these types of products are sprayed directly to the palm and the bugs; however, read their directions carefully for best results.

Throw away heavily infested plants, as the treatments may not be enough to completely wipe the mealybugs’ presence out. Quarantine any new plants you bring into your home for at least two weeks before you integrate them into your existing plants to prevent the spread of mealybugs or other pests.
Neem oil and pesticide is typically available at home and garden centers.

How to Get Rid of Mealy Bugs on a Gardenia Houseplant

Gardenias, while outstanding houseplants, also shine in the landscape.

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Mealybugs are sap-sucking insects commonly found on indoor plants such as gardenias. These gray, segmented pests often feed in clusters, shedding their white waxy or cottony coating all over the sections of the plant they’ve infested. In high numbers, mealybugs can cause premature leaf drop and twig dieback, but even lower numbers will cause an affected gardenia to grow more slowly. Most mealybugs also secrete honeydew, a sticky substance that attracts both ants and sooty molds. Eliminating this pest from an indoor gardenia can be difficult if the infestation is large, but in smaller concentrations, it’s very possible to save a gardenia from mealybugs.

Remove any infested gardenias to an area where there are no other houseplants to prevent the further spread of mealybugs.

Check your gardenia carefully for mealybug populations. If numbers are low and concentrated in a small area, it may be easier to cut them out of the plant than to treat them with chemicals. Burn or double-bag any plant debris that contains mealybugs.

Treat very light infestations by blasting plants with a high pressure water stream from a kitchen sprayer or garden hose. Touch any mealybugs that you cannot dislodge this way with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to kill them. Take care not to get rubbing alcohol on your gardenia.

Smother larger mealybug infestations with a thorough application of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Before application, move your gardenia to a location out of direct sunlight, where the room temperature will not exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit, to eliminate the potential for an adverse reaction. Two days after treatment drench the soil of your gardenia with a solution containing the beneficial fungus Beauveria bassiana to kill any root-feeding mealybugs that may be present. Repeat this combination every 10 to 14 days until the mealybugs are gone and your plant’s health improves noticeably.

Drench the soil of your gardenia with imidacloprid and water thoroughly if mealybug populations are high and do not respond to less toxic remedies. Allow three to seven days for the insecticide to take effect. Apply as directed; this neonicotinoid pesticide cannot work properly if mixed or applied incorrectly. Do not apply more frequently than once every 16 weeks.

How to deal with mealybug on indoor plants: causes, prevention and folk remedies

Chervets are insects with even wings. Such insects belong to the order coccid.

They are close relatives of the scale.

Have a negative effect on most plants. In the article we will look at the causes of these insects and how to get rid of them, as well as describe the main methods of prevention.

What you need to know?

Mealybugs are popularly known as shaggy lice.. They are represented by sucking insects. They can be easily recognized with the naked eye. These insects acquired their name due to the fact that they emit white elements that look like cotton. Both larvae and adult females differ in that they suck the plants.

Everyone gets under their influence:

This process of sucking by these insects has a negative effect on the plant, and it slows down in growth. The body of the worm is covered with a wax coating of white color.. There are also such cases when wax plates are present along the edges. The size of this organism can reach no more than 6 millimeters, but it all depends on the type of insect.

Males differ from females in that they have wings. The limbs of an organism are developed at a high level. The abdomen has two tails. The mouth of the insects is absent, since the adult organism does not feed..

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There are also such species where individuals do not have legs or they are simply reduced. Mouth sucking look. There are females viviparous and laying eggs. Eggs are usually laid in a special bag, which is also cotton-like.

Reproduction is developed in these insects at a high level. In the year, some species can give up to 4 of their own kind.and some half as much.
Young larvae of the so-called first age are able to move through a particular plant, as well as be transported with the help of the wind. When the larvae stick to a particular plant, their mobility decreases or is completely absent.

When the molting process has passed, the larvae are looking for a new place to feed. If the larva has already become an adult organism, then it can actively move through the food plant.

Causes of

The causes of the bite are:

  1. inadequate care for a houseplant;
  2. average humidity in the house or apartment;
  3. air temperature in the room is not more than 25 degrees;
  4. lack or excess of moisture;
  5. lack of daylight for indoor plants.

Most often, these parasites affect:

The first steps in detecting

When a pest is detected on a houseplant, the process of fighting the mealybug must be started as early as possible. In another case, it will multiply rapidly, and a large population of such an insect is difficult to remove from the plant.

Important! In that case, if you are absolutely sure that it is the same bug on the plant, then first of all the affected plant must be isolated from other growing flowers in the pots.

In this case, these insects do not climb on the other individuals of flowers. Further, it is necessary to proceed to the main opposition to the worm.

How to get rid of the pest?

Consider a few tools:


During the period, when new individuals are just born chemicals have the desired effect the highest quality type. This period is the time when the cheeks only emerge from the womb of the mother or hatch from the egg. At that time, insects had not yet had time to acquire a special protective wax, and their body was quite vulnerable during this period.

The use of chemicals is expressed in the fact that in order to achieve the necessary result, it is necessary to exert influence regularly for two weeks. But the main difficulty in eliminating these insects on a plant is that with the help of chemicals only young individuals can be eliminated, and adults will continue to develop and create their own kind.

You need to understand that the longer you delay the process of dealing with the larvae, the harder and more unreal you will be to bring them out.

Attention! Best suited for the destruction of these insects sprayers. Getting on the leaves of a plant, this medicine is absorbed. Insects at the same time suck the plant sap with poison for them.

How to deal with mealybug and what is suitable for cultivating the land of indoor plants? Widely available effective anti-mealybug drugs are:

Fighting mealybug requires regularity. The effects of chemicals on insects should be orderly and constantto eliminate the manifestation of new individuals. It is also important to monitor the indoor plant during the treatment period. In more detail about the best preparations for mealybugs, we wrote in this article.

Traditional medicine bears a number of ways to eliminate the worm from the plant:

  1. Horsetail tincture With it, it is necessary to spray the leaves and add medicine to the root. This tool can be purchased at any pharmacy.
  2. Spraying with a certain oily substance. The recipe for this substance is the following: for one liter of water you need two tablespoons of olive oil. Further, this content is applied to the leaves of the plant.
  3. The solution with the presence of alcohol and soap. The composition of this solution includes soap in the amount of 15 grams and alcohol in the amount of 10 milliliters. All this must be added to warm water.
  4. Tincture based on garlic.

Preventive measures

It is very important to care for plants, especially for the off-season. The plant must be examined for such a pest as a worm.. In order for this pest and many others not to attack the plant, it is necessary:


The bug is a fairly serious threat to the plant. He is able to stop the growth of the flower and completely destroy it. In such cases, it is extremely important to determine the insect attack on the plant as soon as possible and to begin its treatment.

Mealybug Control: How to Identify, Prevent and Get Rid of Mealybugs

The physical characteristics of adult mealybugs will vary depending on their gender. In the case of male mealybugs, they are very small and they have tiny wings. It is rare to see them causing an infestation in plants. The more common is the female mealybug, which has an oval body with soft-shell, which has an average length of 1.5 to 3mm. They have a white wax coating, which also provides them with protection. When they appear in clusters, they look like cotton.

Mealybugs on Green Leaves

Mealybug’s Habitat

Mealybugs are common pests in greenhouses or indoor plants, which are known as glasshouse mealybugs. They are common in places with a warm climate and appears throughout the year. They have a sucking long mouth that feeds on the host, taking out the sap from the plant tissue. However, there are also other species that feed on outdoor plants and some specifically attack the root. This specie is from the genus Rhizoecus, which feed on the ground.

How to Identify Mealybugs

Plants Affected

The plants where mealybugs feed will depend on the specific specie of the pest that is present. For glasshouse mealybugs, they commonly thrive in household plants, such as orchids, tomato, passion flower, and African violets, among others. Those that survive outdoors, meanwhile, are common in apples, pears, grapes, and apricots.


Below are some of the most common symptoms of the presence of mealybugs:

  • Most of the symptoms of the damages will be apparent on the leaves of the affected plants. It will turn yellow and will wilt. The discoloration and weakness of the plant are because it no longer has the nutrients it needs. The mealybugs suck it out of the plant tissue.
  • You will also notice the appearance of a white waxy substance on the leaf. You will find orange-pink eggs attached on the underside of the leaf with damage.
  • Aside from the leaves, the fruits will also be indicative of the damages. The pest can feed on the fruit when they are still young, which will inhibit growth and in turn, will drop prematurely.
  • Other parts of the plant will be sticky, which is a result of the excretion of the mealybug. Through time, it will develop into a sooty mold. This will cause the different parts of the plant to turn black.
  • With the roots, on the other hand, they will end up with white waxy cover.
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Results of Infestation

In most cases, the result of the infestation of mealybugs is not as devastating as other common garden pests. However, when they are present in huge clusters, the problem multiplies, and hence, resulting in more concerning effects. The toxicity of the saliva of the pest makes it harmful for young plants. One of the most common effects is the disruption of their growth. Distortion of the plant is also a common occurrence, making it turn unsightly. Leaves will also drop even if the plant is still young. The same thing is true in the case of fruits. It can drop even before harvest and will make it unmarketable. When the infestation is huge, this can result in the death of host plants.

Leaf Figs Damaged by Mealybugs

How to Get Rid of Mealybugs

Natural and Organic Solutions

For a safe but effective way to tackle the presence of mealybugs, below are some of the most effective solutions you might want to consider:

  • Pruning is one of the easiest ways to get rid of mealybugs. You need to constantly trim your plants to make sure that it will not be a breeding ground for this pesky pest. If there is a heavy infestation, on the other hand, dispose the entire plant. This is a better solution than trying to salvage a plant that has no more hope.
  • Physical removal of the mealybugs is also another initial course of action that you might want to consider. This is quite an exhausting task, but it will be a good way to prevent further damage to the plants. Start by spraying water on the leaves, which will make it easier to remove them from the surface. You can also use a wet cloth to pick them. After detaching the pest from the leaves, throw them in a bucket of soapy water.
  • When it comes to biological controls, on the other hand, it will help if you will encourage natural predators in the outdoor garden. One of the best is Cryptolaemus montrouzieri or a ladybird. With a length of only about 3 to 4 mm, it can feast on mealybugs, making it easier to control their population.
  • Another excellent choice for natural predators is parasitic wasps. You can release the wasps or you can also consider growing plants that will attract their presence in the garden. These wasps will feed on the larvae, but will not be effective once the pest turns into an adult.
  • Green lacewings are also natural predators that are effective in the control of mealybugs. They are often a part of Integrated Pest Management approach. With a usual length of ¾ inch, they are reputable as voracious predators, especially when pests are still at their younger stage.

Chemical Solutions

As much as possible, stay away from control measures that require the use of chemicals. They are toxic not only to mealybugs, but also to the other insects in the garden. They can cause harm to the environment in multiple ways. Chemical control is more common only if the infestation is large. The waxy cover in their body makes them more difficult to kill with chemicals. It is important to spray vigorously to kill the target. For ornamental plants, systemic neonicotinoid insecticide will work. For fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, deltamethrin, a form of contact action insecticide, is one of the most common choices.

How to Prevent Mealybugs

Keeping the plant in its tip-top condition is perhaps the best preventive measure. When it is at its healthiest state, it will be less vulnerable to infestation as against when it is already weak. With this, frequent watering and the use of natural fertilizers will help. When you notice that there is a part of the plant that is unhealthy, cut it out before the damage spreads to the healthy portions. Also, it will help if you can plant cultivars that are resistant to mealybugs.

Insects in the City

The best in science-based, pest management solutions from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Mealybugs on hibiscus common this summer

The striped mealybug is recognized by two dark stripes on the dorsum, two tails and numerous, fine hair-like rods covering their body. These mealybugs are feeding on the base and under the sepals of an hibiscus flower. Photo by Anita Steele.

Mealybugs are perhaps best known as pests of indoor plants. But occasionally mealybugs strike outdoors flowers and shrubs. The striped mealybug, Ferrisia virgata Cockerell, is one such pest that has been showing up in Texas gardens this summer.

Mealybugs are pests that feed on plant sap. Most are white in color, from a white wax produced by special glands on the tops and sides of their bodies. The patterns, form and length of the waxy filaments on mealybug bodies help us identify the different species of mealybugs. The striped mealybug is identified by two dark rows of punctures on the top (dorsum) of the insect, two long waxy tails on the end of the body, and fine needle-like rods extending out from the body, like a bad haircut.

While feeding, all mealybugs produce a sugary excrement that drops on leaves and stems and makes plants appear sticky. Once a leaf or stem is coated with this sticky secretion, known as honeydew, it eventually turns black as a result of black sooty mold growing on the sugary coating. The same type of excrement is produced by aphids, scales, and other sap-feeding insects.

Look for striped mealybugs on the stems, under leaves, on flower buds and in the leaf axils of infested plants. Because of their behavior of settling the protected crevices of plants, and their waxy coverings, don’t be surprised if you find these bugs difficult to control with insecticides.

Soaps and oil sprays may provide some control, especially if applied before an infestation becomes heavy. But good coverage is essential, as soaps and horticultural oil sprays only kill insects that are sprayed directly. Also, expect to need to spray several times. If certain parts of the plants are more heavily infested, pruning these stems prior to spraying may be helpful. Systemic insecticides like imidacloprid or dinotefuran are very effective on most sap feeding insects when applied as a drench to the soil. These products would be my first choice against a tough mealybug infestation.

Get Rid of Pests With This 2-Ingredient Homemade Insecticide

Don’t let bugs ruin your plants. A homemade insecticide is your best defense against aphids, and you can DIY a natural pest spray at home with only two ingredients.

I recently moved a number of outdoor plants inside my house for the winter, and all had been doing well for the last few weeks until this week… when I found a colony of tiny pests on the windowsill, on the rim of the pot, and on the stalk of my banana plant.

I had hosed it down, inspected the leaves, and put it in fresh potting soil to prep for overwintering it, but even in the absence of pests to the naked eye, hitchhikers are always a possibility. They lay eggs on the undersides of leaves or hide in the garden soil that was still clinging to the roots.

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The aphids seemed to appear overnight, and I needed to get rid of them quickly yet naturally — a high concern since the plants were overwintering in our bedrooms. (Those little white specks are nymphs, or young aphids.)

Luckily, when it comes to fast and easy (and cheap!) pest sprays, DIY gardeners know that it takes just two ingredients to make the best organic insecticide: liquid soap and water.

Also called insecticidal soap, it’s the next step in controlling pests when other natural, non-toxic methods (like hand-picking pests off plants, spraying them off with a sharp blast of water, or introducing beneficial insects to the garden) aren’t working.

Insecticidal soap kills common pests on indoor plants (like potted herbs and other houseplants) and outdoor plants (like vegetable gardens and flower beds) on contact. You can use the same formula indoors or out.

Commercial versions can readily be found in the gardening aisle of your local home improvement store, but this homemade bug spray for your plants is worth making for its sheer simplicity and low cost.

If you have a spray bottle and liquid soap handy, you’re already halfway there!

How insecticidal soap works on plant pests

Insecticidal soaps exploit the fatty acids in soap to suffocate small, soft-bodied insects and arthropods such as aphids, mealybugs, thrips, whiteflies, spider mites, leaf hoppers, earwigs, and immature scales (crawlers).

Upon contact, the fatty acids disrupt the permeability and structure of the insects’ cell membranes, dissolving their exoskeletons and fatally dehydrating them.

Contact is the operative word here, as insecticidal soaps only work when sprayed directly on the pests, and are only effective for as long as they remain wet.

Dry soap does nothing. If you can’t see the pests, you’re not likely to get any results with the spray, homemade or not.

What ingredients are in homemade insecticide?

Essentially, insecticidal soap is a highly refined version of liquid dish soap.

But while many homemade insecticide recipes call for dish soap like Dawn, it’s important that you don’t use Dawn (or similar grease-cutting brands).

Commercial dish soaps like Dawn are more accurately referred to as liquid dish detergents. The detergents, fragrances, and dyes in those kinds of formulations can be harsh on your plants and end up doing more harm than good.

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I personally like the Dr. Bronner’s line of pure-castile liquid soap, which uses fair-trade ingredients and organic oils in its formulations, and is free of additives found in commercial dish soap, hand soap, and laundry detergent.

To put it simply, castile soap is not a detergent like the soap you use to wash dishes or clothes.

Dr. Bronner’s baby unscented castile soap is the most versatile for all applications, but you can try their scented versions for a little extra repelling power in the garden.

Natural scents that repel bugs

  • Peppermint is known for deterring aphids, flea beetles, whiteflies, cabbage loopers, and squash bugs
  • Lavender repels moths, mosquitoes, fleas, and flies
  • Eucalyptus is effective against spider mites, scales, aphids, and earwigs

Castile soap, plus plain old tap water, is all you need for a natural homemade insecticide.

It should be noted that hard water can reduce the effectiveness of the soap, so if your water is high in calcium, magnesium, or iron, use distilled or bottled water for the solution.

How to make organic insecticide at home

Makes 1 gallon of a 1% soap solution


1 gallon water
2 1/2 tablespoons pure-castile liquid soap
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)


Fill a gallon-size spray container (I use this one with great results) with water, then add the soap and oil. Mix or shake the container thoroughly before using.

The oil helps the solution stick around longer after being sprayed. Since the oil can go rancid, I mix up a fresh batch of this insecticidal soap every time I need it. If you want to keep some on hand at all times, omit the oil.

To scale the recipe for smaller applications, use 2 teaspoons pure-castile liquid soap for every 1 quart water. (This spray container works well when you have fewer or smaller plants.)

How to apply insecticidal soap to your plants

Dry conditions and hot weather (above 90°F) can increase plant stress and increase their sensitivity to the soap, so avoid spraying on a hot, sunny day and make sure your plants are well watered first.

If you’re trying to treat houseplants, be sure to protect the surroundings from overspray or move the plants to an area where you can spray freely, like a patio or garage.

Insecticidal soap is best applied in the early morning or early evening, as the cooler temperatures slow evaporation of the soap and favor better pest control.

Pollinator activity tends to be low during these hours, so you have less of a chance of impairing bees, hoverflies, and other beneficial bugs in the garden.

Insecticidal soaps are not systemic insecticides — that is, they don’t absorb into plant tissue. They only work on direct contact with insects, so make sure you cover all plant surfaces where you see pests with a fine spray, including the undersides of the leaves where many pests like to hide.

(Note the emphasis on where you see pests. Simply spraying the whole plant with soapy water won’t work. The soap needs to coat the insects thoroughly — not the leaves — in order to kill them.)

Spray once a week (or for more serious infestations, every 4 days) for 4 weeks until you see improvement. Any more or longer than that, and you risk leaf injury, as the soap will remove all the natural oils and waxes that protect the leaf, and thus remove the plant’s natural defenses against pests and diseases.

Speaking of leaf injury, some plants are more susceptible to soap than others, so I suggest a test spray on a small area first if you aren’t sure how sensitive your plant is.

Wait 24 to 48 hours and check for leaf damage (such as burned tips or yellow or brown spotting) before proceeding with a full application. If you do spot damage, rinse the leaves with clean water to remove any residual soap.

Avoid using insecticidal soap on these types of plants

According to Clemson University’s Cooperative Extension, susceptible plants include hawthorn, sweet peas, cherries, plums, horse chestnut, mountain ash, Japanese maple, bleeding heart, maidenhair fern, crown of thorns, lantana, nasturtiums, gardenias, and Easter lilies, and to some extent azaleas, begonias, fuchsias, geraniums, and impatiens.

Seedlings, new transplants, newly rooted cuttings, and drought-stressed plants are also sensitive to insecticidal soap, so try to incorporate other means of pest control (like row covers or other physical barriers — I’m a fan of this mesh pop-up tent) before resorting to soapy water.

Remember: Less is more when it comes to spraying anything on your plants, even when you’re using natural pest control sprays.

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