Mealybugs destroy plants, and if you want to know how to remove them the right way – you came to the right place.
So, how to get rid of mealybugs naturally? The best way to get get rid of mealybugs naturally is to use essential oils, like peppermint, thyme, lavender, mentha, and other kinds of oils. Coffee grounds are also an option to get rid of mealybugs in your garden. For both of these, all you need to do is put the essential oils or coffee grounds into a spray bottle and spray the plants with it.
Let’s dig into more detail.
How to Get Rid of Mealybugs Naturally
Killing Mealybugs naturally is a sure way to ensure they are gone for good. However, this may take significantly more time than killing Mealybugs artificially.
If you also have Mealybugs located on the roots, it will be significantly harder to extract them, so I recommend an artificial method for that. There are several methods for killing Mealybugs naturally.
Killing Mealybugs Naturally with Essential Oils
The first natural method I have to control mealybugs are essential oils. These are, in most cases, completely natural remedies that were tested in a 2013 study. Peppermint, Thyme, Lavender, Mentha, and certain fruit essential oils were used in this study.
The most effective oil was a fruit essential oil, the citrus oil from orange and lemon peels. These are an absolute mealybug destroyer in my experience.
Now, all you have to do is either purchase the solution or make it at home. To make the solution at home, you will have to mix 8-14 drops of citrus(lemon, orange) oil into one cup of water.
After that, you can test it out of on one infested leaf for one week. If you see a good amount of clearing, then you should apply it to the infected plant. Once you see some clearing on the entire plant, apply it to all the other plants.
Using Cofee Grounds to Get Rid of Mealybugs Naturally
Method two is by using coffee grounds. This is also the safest option for killing houseplant pests like Mealybugs. To create the solution, you will have to pour one tablespoon into the spray bottle, along with one cup of water.
After that, swirl gently and let it sit overnight for the coffee grounds to infuse into the water. You should, of course, test it on one plant leaf again and check if there is any damage done. Your plants will probably smell like coffee for a while after applying this method.
I have used this for my homemade mealy bug spray and it has worked effectively. You can also apply this to a cotton swab and rub it in if you only have a few small areas infected.
Methods to Kill Mealybugs Artificially
Killing Mealybugs Artificially is much faster than killing Mealybugs naturally. However, killing them fast doesn’t always mean that Mealybugs will be gone for good, and in a few cases, it may hurt your plant. There are several methods for Killing Mealybugs artificially.
Lemon and Orange oils may still hurt your plant because this was tested on grape leaves, which may harm your plant(extra rare that it does minimal damage).
Does Hydrogen Peroxide Kill Mealybugs?
The first artificial method is to use hydrogen peroxide, a strong chemical compound used in certain insecticides. This is extra-effective against mealybugs and does a great performance with killing Mealybug eggs.
With hydrogen peroxide, it is a little more complex than natural remedies. To clean the roots, you want to carefully uproot the plant and pick off chunks of dirt. You can then dip the roots into a container that is about 70% full of hydrogen peroxide. After that, you can leave the plant in the solution for about ten minutes.
You will hear and see bubbling. You can also apply this to any other parts of your infested plant. Hydrogen peroxide can kill sensitive plants, so do your research.
Using Rubbing Alcohol
The second method is rubbing alcohol, which is also a relatively strong chemical compound. I personally recommend 70% isopropyl alcohol. I haven’t tested or used 90% isopropyl alcohol.
You first want to pour a cup of 70% isopropyl alcohol into a container. Then, it would be best if you had a paper napkin to soak completely into the alcohol.
After that, you can rub the napkin all over your plant, especially over the infested areas of the plant. After that, you will have to dispose of these critters by putting them inside a Ziplock bag and throwing that into the garbage.
Almost no one gets all of them in their first round, so if you consider this method, get ready to do this more than once.
Getting Rid of Mealybugs with Dish Soap
Dish soap is another effective method. If you have sensitive plants, then I recommend not using dish soap. Dish soap is a great insecticide in general.
You will have to pour 1/4 a cup of dish soap, one cup of water, and a spray bottle. After that, all you have to do is spray them down. Just be sure to wipe them off the plant with a paper napkin later.
How to Find Mealybugs
Mealybugs are well-adept at hiding. Mealybugs usually hide under plant roots and under leaves.
You can find them on hard-to-see parts of the plants. Sometimes you will have to dig to see if they are located in the soil or on the roots of your plant.
If you start seeing something that looks like white plant fungus or dark charcoal, then you may want to take a closer look at your plant.
What are Mealybugs?
Mealybugs are tiny white insects that could appear out of nowhere. They are harmful to your plants in your garden if they do not receive treatment.
Mealybugs are a serious threat to farmers as well because things can go downhill fast for them, especially because Mealybugs are affecting their income.
Mealybugs are also very annoying for gardeners because they spread quickly and are hard to find because it hides in ever underside of a plant and sometimes, the roots.
Mealybugs are relatively common among garden bugs, and they are definitely not good for your plants.
Mealybugs feed on the sap of your plants and give off a substance called honeydew, which causes mold, fungus, and the unwanted attraction of other bugs.
Mealybugs are classified as Coccoidea(small plant-feeding insects), and they are commonly transported through migration(slow) or by garden ants(much faster).
Signs You Have Mealybugs
You often won’t notice a lot of damage to your plants at first, but if you notice insects that fit these descriptions, you could be dealing with Mealybugs.
- White(covered in wax)
- 1/20 – 1/5 inches long
- Oval shaped body
- It Looks like it has many legs/ hair around them(wax coating)
- It may look like some of them have tails or antennas
- Cotton-looking sacks around them(inside of them are hundreds of Mealybug eggs)
Mealybug Life Cycle
Mealybugs have a straightforward lifestyle, which is part of why they grow exponentially.
Female Mealybugs deposit up to 600 Mealybug eggs in a waxy, cotton-looking sack, usually under leaves. Mealybug Egg-laying takes about two weeks, with the female Mealybug dying shortly after.
After 1-3 weeks, these critters start hatching as baby nymphs and start feeding on your plants, and they start piercing the plant with their mouthparts and extracting the sap on as many plant hosts as necessary.
Mealybug males will grow fast by feeding on the plant, and they have a very short lifespan. Their only job is to fertilize female Mealybugs, and after that, they will die.
Mealybug females will grow by feeding on the plant as well. After that, they will get fertilized to lay eggs. They will still eat the plant shortly after they lay their eggs, then die.
In warm weather, plant bugs can go through eight generations in a sing year. In cold weather, Mealybugs can go through two-generation, which is still a lot.
How Did I Get Mealybugs?
Both indoor plants and outdoor plants attract Mealybugs. These insects will attack a wide range of plants, including gardenias, fruit trees, and more.
They hide under leaves and flower petals, which makes it harder to determine whether you have them or not. These are very common insects that will thrive during the Spring and Summer.
Mealybugs have several ways of transportation from plant to plant. They can either migrate by a leg, by garden ants, by plant contacting plant, and through unwashed garden tools. Male Mealybugs can also fly to reproduce quicker.
So, now, where did these plant pests come from? Mealybugs were first reported in Egypt in the 1900s, and it spread to the Caribbean. After that, they spread from the Caribbean to the United States, Florida.
After that, they spread to Alabama, Texas, Arizona, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, and South Carolina and can be found all over the world.
How to Prevent Mealybugs
After you have chosen your method of killing Mealybugs, you will have to prevent another mealybug infestation. A great way to further prevent them is to spray them with Neem and ginger oil.
Houseplant bugs like mealybugs dislike this scent. If you get new plants, you should inspect them thoroughly before including them in your garden or farm.
No method is perfect, so there still could be Mealybugs on the plant. Therefore the survivors will probably migrate to other plants.
So, be sure to inspect all your plants to ensure that none of them have Mealybugs if you have previously had Mealybugs on a plant. Also, don’t be afraid to use multiple Mealybug removal methods.
Killing mealy bugs can be tough. Hopefully, with the information you learned in the article today, you know how to get rid of mealybugs naturally. Use essential oils and coffee grounds and spray them everywhere the mealybugs are. This will get rid of them within weeks.
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