The Garden Plant
Plants Dying Mealybugs

5 Tips on why your Plants are Dying- Mealybugs

If you have been caring for plants for years, you will have seen Mealybugs numerous times. I know I have, Mealy’s once on a plant or in an interior landscape is super tough to get rid of 100%, without using heavy toxins on the plants.

I have a Dessert Rose right now that I have almost eradicated all of the Mealy’s off of, the problem is I thought they were gone a month ago, but they’re still there.
Wikipedia says that– “Mealybugs are insects in the family Pseudococcidae, unarmored scale insects found in moist, warm climates. Many species are considered pests as they feed on plant juices of greenhouse plants, house plants, and subtropical trees and also act as a vector for several plant diseases.”

Most people know Mealy’s as little spongey cotton-like substance mostly on the underside of leaves on a plant, Mealy’s suck the sap out of living plants.  When you have an infestation of Mealybugs, you will see on them on the top of Plant leaves. When you see Mealybugs on top of your leaves, I would suggest throwing that plant away if possible. Usually, when the bug shows itself on top of the leaf, it’s that point, where it’s almost impossible to totally rid the bug from a plant.

Mealybug Control

If you want to perform some Mealybug control, especially without using potent toxins in your home setting. It’s going to be labor intensive. I probably wouldn’t do it unless it were one of my favorite plants. Most people are not going to spray and clean the plant in the cracks and crevices to eradicate the Mealybugs.

I’ll tell you now Mealy’s are good at hiding. They are also good at going dormant until they think the coast is clear and coming back stronger than ever.

How Did I get Mealybugs in my home

Most people get Mealybugs from Home Depot, where a lot of home plants are sold. HomeDepots growers down here in South Florida and South America, know how to make a Mealybug breakout go dormant long enough for the plants to go on HD shelves and into your home.

Plants dying Mealybugs
Interior Plant setting

A lot of these plants are week because of the inconsistent watering they ‘usually’ get at Home Depots. If you go to your favorite HD Garden Center your going to see hundreds of dead plants in some corner waiting to be returned to the grower for credit. 90% of these plants die because of disease that can’t be hidden or irregular watering.

Mealybug Treatments

First off, I don’t you toxins on plants in my home. My company still services a couple of interior and exterior landscapes in commercial settings. My Mealybug home remedy is -pure dish soap, Isopropyl alcohol, and water; this simple solution is a Mealybug killer.. if you spray the underside of leaves and stick to a schedule, it will kill your pests- eventually.

In 23 years of doing this, I have only used a toxin on a plant -twice.

When to use Toxins on Plant Pests

We will use toxin like this for Aphids on extremely rare 40 or 50-foot tall palm, in commercial settings. The Rocker Lenny Kravitz has an interior design company; he designed a large condo complex in Miami called the Paramount. He was going for a super tropical indoor look, so he placed a 40-foot Fishtail Palm in the Condo’s lobby.

One of the technicians that I managed took care of this account. That plant got Aphids, in that situation where you use toxins rid the plant of the pest. To replace that plant would be at least 10k dollars. So you do what you have to save the plant and the money.

What causes Mealybugs?

Mealybugs at their root cause happen because of the humid tropical setting that the plants grow in somewhere during that growing process something made those plants weak where the mealybugs took advantage usually at the plants’ inception. Another way a lot of people get Mealybugs is from their job.

A lot of office settings have tropical plant landscapes in them, Mealybugs will hitch a ride on your clothes and into your home and on to your plants. It happens all day every day.


Brent Richard Dixon

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