Mealybugs and How to Get Rid of Them

Have you ever walked into your yard to do some gardening and found tiny white cotton-like insects on stems and leaves? These small pests are known as mealybugs and are a common occurrence across the world. They are oval and their size ranges from 1/10th to 1/4th of an inch. They love sucking on plants and do so by inserting their stylets (or long sucking mouths) into the plant to suck out the sap. Even though the damage caused by them is not extreme, it may result in the yellowing and curling of leaves. Gumtree outlines the following steps you can take to rid your garden of mealybugs:

  1.     If you have a light infestation, use an earbud dipped in rubbing alcohol to dab them off the plant.
  2.     Plants that have higher nitrogen levels are more susceptible to mealybug infestations. It is advised to not overwater or over fertilise your plants.
  3.     Certain beneficial insects can destroy mealybugs. These include ladybugs and lacewings.
  4.     Spray a mixture of neem oil and water every week or two as this acts as a natural pest repellent. However, it is non-toxic to several beneficial insects such as bees.
  5.     Use a leaf shine to wash your foliage on a regular basis to prevent infestations too.
  6.     You can also use botanical insecticides that are created from plants with insecticidal properties. However, it is recommended to use these only as a last resort.

Gumtree also recommends using the following homemade insect spray to protect your plants from mealybugs. Here is the recipe:

  1.     Blend 1 garlic, 1 small onion and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper well.
  2.     Add this to 1 litre of water and let it rest for an hour.
  3.     Strain this liquid and add 1 tablespoon of dishwashing soap.
  4.     Mix and spray on mealybug infestation.

Now that you have the knowledge, it is time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android).

 

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