What Are Mealybugs? Complete Guide (2023)

What Are Mealybugs?

Mealybugs are known to be scale insects that are more prevalent in warm and moist areas. There are various species of these insects, but the majority of them are pests that feed on plants. They can feed on greenhouse plants, subtropical trees, and house plants. In addition, they tend to act as vectors for multiple plant illnesses. Some Mealybugs create a symbiotic relationship with the trees, protecting them from predators, and they will live off of the honeydew excreted from the plants.

These are known as plant-sucking pests and are seen in warm climates. They don’t have wings, and their body is pretty soft. They look like white cotton masses on the fruits, stems, and leaves of the plants. They have styles that they insect into the plants and draw out the sap from the tissue. At lower pest infestation, the damage to plants won’t be as significant, but a higher population can lead to leaf curling and yellowing, and the plant will eventually weaken.

Mealybugs

When they feed on plants, they consume the honeydew, which results in sticky plants and molds will start growing on the plants. These insects can impact ornamental plants, fruit trees, and avocado trees as well. The adult mealybugs are around ¼ inches long and are covered with gray or white wax. On the other hand, the smaller ones don’t have wax and are light yellow. For the most part, the young mealybugs are active but become lazy when they find a tree to live on.

Why Do Mealybugs Cluster Up In Your Home?

If you have planted plants and trees with higher nitrogen levels and show softer growth, mealybugs are highly likely to create an infestation. In addition, mealybugs are common when you over-fertilize or overwater the plants. Not to forget, if you are doing all this while living in warmer climates, their infestation will be more common. Honestly, it looks like they come out of nowhere, but in various cases, they are brought home with another plant when you buy something new from the nursery.

How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs?

Getting rid of the mealybugs can be challenging, especially when you have nitrogen-rich trees and plants. So, in the section below, we are sharing some ways of getting rid of mealybugs, such as;

  • If the mealybugs infestation is light, you can drench Q-tips in rubbing alcohol and kill each insect
  • Make sure you don’t over-fertilize or overwater the plants because mealybugs are always more attracted to such plants
  • Various commercial insecticides can kill them. For this purpose, just buy a mealybugs-specific insecticide from the store
  • If you have an insect stored around, just get some lacewings and ladybugs because they are natural predators of mealybugs
  • You can use the strong water streams to hose off the infected plants and watch the infestation getting low
  • Make sure you clean and wash the foliage regularly, and it will help reduce the chances of infestations in the future
  • If the mealybugs’ infestation is too strong or severe, you can opt for Safer Insecticidal Soap. It will damage the external layer of these pests, resulting in dehydration and then death
  • Neem oil is another great way of disrupting the mealybugs’ growth and development because of their repellent characteristics. In addition, it doesn’t pose any harm to the plants
  • The botanical insecticides also work great for killing mealybugs. The botanical insecticides are made from the plant with insecticidal properties, so they won’t adversely impact the plants
  • Make sure the foliage is washed regularly with the help of leaf shine as it helps discourage the chances of future infestations

Where Do Mealybugs Come From?

Mealybugs are more common in warm climates, and they come into the home by bringing home plants with infestations. They tend to spread from one plant to another and keep feeding off the plants.

Will Mealybugs Sting Or Bite Me?

No, mealybugs don’t sting or bite humans and don’t pose any harm.

How Bad Is The Sting Of A Mealybug?

Mealybugs don’t bite or sting humans, which means you don’t have to worry about treating the wound or the severity of the sting.

Are Mealybugs Destructive?

Yes, they are destructive, but for plants. This is because mealybugs tend to infest plants which means they can harm the plants. In addition, heavy mealybugs infestation can result in leaf curling and yellowing.

Do Mealybugs Get Attracted To Water?

Yes, they do get attracted to water but not the puddles. However, if you overwater the plants in warmer weather conditions, it tends to attract the mealybugs.

Why Are Mealybugs Bad?

The mealybugs are bad because they suck the juice from host plants and damage their growth and development. They are highly likely to favor new plants, which means the plants’ growth will be hindered. Not to forget, it can result in the premature dropping of vegetables, flower buds, and fruits.