Mealy bugs are pests that are mainly found on houseplants and at times a troublesome pest in hothouses, attacking vines and various greenhouse plants.
Mealybugs are normally found living in clusters in protected areas of plants
The adult mealybug is about 1 inch long, reddish in colour, but covered with a white mealy substance.
The sides of the body of a mealy bug are covered with long spines.
The larvae of the mealybug move about sucking the sap of the plant, which they weaken, and they also cause indirect damage by exuding a sticky substance which, adhering to the plant, collects dust and foreign matter generally, so choking up the pores and making the plant unsightly.
When full grown the female mealybugs lay their eggs under the woolly covering and these eggs quickly hatch, giving rise to a fresh infestation of lice.
There is only a partial hibernation when they hide away in crevices and under pieces of bark, and at such times are most difficult to eradicate.
Methods of Control - mealy bugs are a difficult pest to fight, but much good will be obtained by using one or other of the following methods to kill mealy bugs.
1: Remove prunings and dead leaves from the greenhouse as they may house mealybugs or mealy bug eggs .
2: Use Imidacloprid - a systemic insecticide that is absorbed iby a plant and kills the mealybug as it eats. This can be used on greenhouse tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and ornamental house plants - but do not use on other edible plants and vegetables. Buy as a bug spray to kill mealy bugs.
3: Other systemic insecticides to try are thiacloprid, acetamiprid and thiamethoxam. Thiamethoxam may only be used to control mealy bugs on container grown plants.
4: Organic methods of mealybug control include plant oils and fatty acids which can be purchased as organic pesticides from a garden centre. These organic methods have the benefit of being safe to use on edible plants.
How to get rid of mealy bugs - kill mealybugs.