What are Mealybugs?
Your succulents are growing healthy and fine until one day you notice some white fuzzy creatures crawling out of your plants and when unattended, they wither off and eventually die. These are what mealy bugs are, and they love your succulents as much as you do. They are one of the most common succulent problems, well known for the long and thorough fight required to eradicate them. The pests are well known and loathed; they can come out of nowhere and destroy your beautiful succulents even before you realize they were ever there. They are usually right on the middle top of your plant, but before you notice the bugs themselves, your leaves will have started becoming deformed. It is important to check your plants regularly even when there is no visible sign, just to be on the safe side.
Fight at First Sight
The first thing to do when you notice mealybugs is to isolate the infected plants from the rest and inspect all of them for the presence of any more bugs. They spread quickly, and it’s best if you don’t risk them spreading. The next step is to clean the infected plants. To do that, take the plants out of the pot and rinse them with a lot of water. Leave the plan out to dry, discard the old soil and then replant in new soil.
Luckily, there are numerous ways and weapons to get rid of a mealybug infestation, and here are a few.
This is usually the first and simplest step, and it uses the pressure of a strong stream of water. It will wash away most adults and eggs off the foliage. There are a few different ways that you can get the kind of stream you need for taking care of mealybugs. You can partly cover the mouth of a hose with your thumb or use a water bottle. You may have to pull the plant out of the pot to make it a little bit easier, and it’s OK to leave the plant out of the soil for a while.
Neem oil is a natural substance used for everything. It’s good for hair, and skin and won’t directly harm your plants either. However, you need to be a bit methodical during the process. You also need to dilute it before use. Unlike other insecticides, it does not affect bees and works by simply being munched by the bugs as they feed off your neem covered plant.
70% Isopropyl Alcohol
This is the most immediate and effective solution that most people find. A 70% concentration is enough to kill the pests without harming your plants. The alcohol is readily available and inexpensive, and is a plant lifesaver, literally. It evaporates in a few minutes, within which the mealy bugs are already dead. After the procedure, wash your plants with a strong stream of water to remove the dead bugs.
You could go nature’s way, using predators. For some other insects, mealybugs are but a snack. The common ladybug is a mealybug destroyer, and a few of them will surely clear your problem.
Mealybugs can be a real headache, however, if you treat them early, and stay consistent with your treatment, you can win the battle. Good luck!