What are Mealy Bugs and what should I do about them?

michigoose(Z5OH)January 1, 2013

Mealybugs are soft-bodied bugs that appear as white cottony masses. These pests are particularly fond of phaleanopsis plants. Adults are about 2-5 mm long and are easily seen by the naked eye. The first line of defense is to inspect plants regularly for them and signs of them as they lay their eggs in what appears to be a slight cottony residue. An adult female will lay 100-200 eggs that will hatch in about two weeks.

Rubbing alcohol from the drugstore in a hand spray bottle is an excellent contact killer. Repeated applications are necessary as alcohol has no lasting effects. For serious infestations, some recommended pesticides are: Malathion 50% EC, oil sprays, or Marathon, 1%. Systemic pesticide applications often require a follow-up treatment to catch newly hatched eggs. Please remember to follow manufacturers recommendations to the letter as misuse of chemicals can cause irreparable harm to plants.

Submitted by Rhonda Heide

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