Mealybugs: Detect, Control And Prevent Plant Pests

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Mealybugs love to infest houseplants such as orchids and cacti. In this guide you will learn how to recognize, prevent and control mealybugs.

How to recognize mealybugs


Mealybugs suck on leaves, stems and the roots of plants, weakening them. They secrete a toxin that inhibits plant vitality and growth. You can easily recognize the little animals by the small white threads they secrete. In addition, they secrete a greasy substance – that’s why they are sometimes called mealybugs. Also, the leaves on infested plants turn dark and eventually die. If you repot your plants, look for whitish smear marks on the inside walls of the pots. These also indicate mealybug infestation.

Fight mealybugs with home remedies

Es muss nicht die Chemiekeule sein, gegen Wollläuse helfen auch Hausmittel

First, isolate the infected plants from the others and place them in a bright and cool environment. Cut off obviously diseased parts of the plant. For more sensitive plants, you can spray them with the following mixture:

1 liter of water
fifteen milliliters of spirit
fifteen milliliters of curd soap
Repeat this application every two to three days.

With cacti you can be less squeamish. Because of their thick skin, they can tolerate direct contact with methylated spirits, so you can apply it directly to the plant.

If the pests are already on the roots, you will have to repot the plants:

  • To do this, remove the plants from the growing medium.
  • Spray the roots with a small jet of water.
  • Disinfect the old pot with alcohol or use a new one.
  • Now you can plant the plant in new growing medium.
  • To make sure the new growing medium is pest-free, first put it in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Another method of controlling mealybugs is to attract lacewings. To do this, place a small bowl of diluted honey next to the plant. The attracted lacewings usually go after the mealybugs within two weeks. Since they rarely catch all the aphids, it is advisable to repeat the procedure.

Preventing mealybug infestation

Of course, it would be even better to completely avoid infestation by mealybugs. To do this, you should scan the plants for possible pests before buying. Since the aphids like darkness, a bright location helps to deter them.