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Mealybug infestations can easily be confused as a mold or fungus on your plant due to their white fluffy egg covering. Mealy can grow to be as large as 1/8th of an inch and the eggs will be the size of a pinhead. Mealy are sap sucking insects that eject a honeydew onto the surface of your plant and the floor around the area. Severe Mealy Colonies will result in leafs dropping off your plant, sticky residue on your plant and eventually can kill the host plant.
Mealybug love to be hidden and protected, so you'll want to look under the canopy of the plant, on the joints of your branches and under the rim of your pots. Mealy will not always be accompanied by fluffy egg sacs, so watch for Mealy that have not yet developed the powdery wax. When young, Mealy are agile and quick, moving fast until they find a nice nook to hide in to start laying eggs.
The first sign will be a sticky residue on the surface of your leaves and even on your surrounding surfaces. Following that, you might notice some discoloration and leaf loss. Then the final sign that seals the deal is noticing white fluff in the nooks of your plant.
Let's first learn how their Lifecycle works.
Mealybug take around 40 days to reach maturity, and once mature can lay up to 600 eggs in just their few remaining weeks alive. Young Mealybug (Nymphs) wander the plant looking for a suitable location to lay eggs, which results in the entire plant being contaminated very quickly. Once you have established that you have a mealy problem, we recommend beginning treatment asap, and continuing the treatment for a minimum of 4 weeks.
1. Quarantine your infected plants
2. Depending on how severe the infestation is, consider pruning your plant to remove the most severe infestations.
3. With warm soap water, use fresh paper towel and Q-tips to physically wipe the mealy and her eggs from your infected plant.
4. Using diluted rubbing alochol, wipe the infected areas with papertowel, cotton swabs and Q-Tips.
6. Use a leaf shine or warm soapy water to remove the honeydew excrement & Pesticide from the foliage and stems of your plants.
Repeat as necessary for a minimum of 4 weeks.
Read our blog on Two-spotted spidermites here:
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